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First Published . . 1903. 

Second Impression . 1904. 

Third Impression . 1906. 

Fourth Impression . 1908. 

Second Edition . . 1922. 

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Printed in Great Britain by'3he.'Whi',cjr irs'fre&, Ltd., London and Tonbridge 


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Y. T. O. 


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THIS collection of Japanese fairy tales is the outcome of 
a suggestion made to me indirectly through a friend by 
Mr. Andrew Lang. They have been translated from the 
modern version written by Sadanami Sanjin. These stories 
are not literal translations, and though the Japanese story and 
all quaint Japanese expressions have been faithfully preserved, 
they have been told more with the view to interest young 
readers of the West than the technical student of folk-lore. 

Grateful acknowledgment is due to Mr. Y. Yasuoka, Miss 
Fusa Okamoto, my brother Nobumori Ozaki, Dr. Yoshihiro 
Takaki, and Miss Kameko Yamao, who have helped me with' 

The story which I have named "The Story of the Man 
who did not Wish to Die " is taken from a little book written a 
hundred years ago by one Shinsui Tamenaga. It is named 
Chosei Furo, or " Longevity." " The Bamboo-cutter and the 
Moon-child'.' is taken from the classic " Taketari Monogatari," 
and is not classed by the Japanese among their fairy tales, 
though it really belongs to this class of literature. 

The pictures were drawn by Mr. Kakuzo Fujiyama, a 
Tokio artist. 

In telling these stories in English I have followed my fancy 

vi Preface. 

in adding such touches of local colour or description as they 
seemed to need or as pleased me, and in one or two instances 
I have gathered in an incident from another version. At all 
times, among my friends, both young and old, English or 
American, I have always found eager listeners to the beautiful 
legends and fairy tales of Japan, and in telling them I have 
also found that they were still unknown to the vast majority, 
and this has encouraged me to write them for the children of 
the West. 

Y. T. 0. 




MY LORD BAG OF RICE ... ... ... ... ... ... ... I 

THE TONGUE-CUT SPARROW ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 12 


THE FARMER AND THE BADGER ... ... ... ... ... ... 43 







THE GOBLIN OF ADACHIGAHARA ... ... ... ... ... ... 140 

THE SAGACIOUS MONKEY AND THE BOAR ... ... ... ... ... 148 



THE JELLY FISH AND THE MONKEY ... ... ... ... ... ... 189 



THE STORY OF PRINCE YAMATO TAKE ... ... ... ... ... 224 


THE OGRE OF RASHOMON ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 2&2 

HOW AN OLD MAN LOST HIS WEN ... ... ... ... 273 





HIDESATO TOOK ANOTHER ARROW ... ... ... ... ... ... 6 

THE PROCESSION ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... IO 




THE GATE OF SOME LARGE PALACE ... ... ... ... ... ... 32 


THE FARMER'S WIFE POUNDING BARLEY ... ... ... ... ... 44 

HE SET THE BUNDLE OF GRASS ON FIRE ... ... ... ... ... 49 


HE THOUGHT AND PONDERED DEEPLY ... ... ... ... ... ... 55 

HE MOUNTED THE DRAGON ... ... ... 58 










x List of Illustrations. 





"WHAT i HAVE BROUGHT YOU is CALLED A MIRROR " ... ... ... 124 



RELUCTANT ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 14! 



THE MONKEY BEGAN HIS TALE OF WOE ... ... ... ... ... 149 


CARRY HIM... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 151 









MONKEY ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 196 




MONKEY ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 212 



WENT STRAIGHT UP TO HIM ... ... ... ... ... ... 222 

List of Illustrations. xi 


A DAGGER FLASHED BEFORE HIS EYES ... ... ... ... ... 230 

A MONSTER SERPENT APPEARED ... ... ... ... ... ... 24! 

SHE SET TO WORK TO WASH THE CLOTHES ... ... ... ... ... 245 

THE PEACH SPLIT IN TWO OF ITSELF ... ... ... ... ... ... 247 


CHIEF AS HIS CAPTIVE ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 260 

WATAN'ABE FINES THE ARM OF THE OGRE ... ... ... ... ... 264 






r i f K i - 1 ' i' i * * . 2 o i 

THE EMPRESS JOKWA ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 284 


EIKO VISITS THE FIRE KING ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 2QO 





LONG, long ago there lived in Japan a brave warrior known 
to all as Tawara Toda, or " My Lord Bag of Rice." His true 
name was Fujiwara Hidesato, and there is a very interesting 
story of how he came to change his name. 

One day he sallied forth in search of adventures, for he had 
the nature of a warrior and could not bear to be idle. So he 
buckled on his two swords, took his huge bow, much taller 
than himself, in his hand, and slinging his quiver on his back 
started out. He had not gone far when he came to the bridge 
of Seta-no-Karashi spanning one end of the beautiful Lake 
Biwa. No sooner had he set foot on the bridge than he saw 
lying right across his path a huge serpent-dragon. Its body 
was so big that it looked like the trunk of a large pine tree and 
it took up the whole width of the bridge. One of its huge claws 
rested on the parapet of one side of the bridge, while its tail lay 
right against the other. The monster seemed to be asleep, and 
as it breathed, fire and smoke came out of its nostrils. 

At first Hidesato could not help feeling alarmed at the sight 
of this horrible reptile lying in his path, for he must either 
F.B. E 

2 Japanese Fairy Book. 

turn back or walk right over its body. He was a brave man, 
however, and putting aside all fear went forward dauntlessly. 
Crunch, crunch! he stepped now on the dragon's body, now 
between its coils, and without even one glance backward he 
went on his way. 

He had only gone a few steps when he heard someone 
calling him from behind. On turning back he was much sur- 
prised to see that the monster dragon had entirely disappeared 
and in its place was a strange-looking man, who was bowing 
most ceremoniously to the ground. His red hair streamed over 
his shoulders and was surmounted by a crown in the shape of 
a dragon's head, and his sea-green dress was patterned with 
shells. Hidesato knew at once that this was no ordinary 
mortal and he wondered much at the strange occurrence. 
Where had the dragon gone in such a short space of time ? 
Or had it transformed itself into this man, and what did the 
whole thing mean ? While these thoughts passed through his 
mind he had come up to the man on the bridge and now 
addressed him : 

" Was it you that called me just now ? " 

"Yes, it was I," answered the man; " I have an earnest 
request to make to you. Do you think you can grant it to 

"If it is in my power to do so I will," answered Hidesato, 
" but first tell me who you are ? " 

" I am the Dragon King of the Lake, and my home is in 
these waters just under this bridge.'"' 

" And what is it you have to ask of me ? " said Hidesato. 

" I want you to kill my mortal enemy the centipede, who 

My Lord Bag of Rice. 3 

lives on the mountain beyond," and the Dragon King pointed 
to a high peak on the opposite shore of the lake. 

^C-C VI-TJ ^>J-<j 

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Putting aside all Fear, he went forward Dauntlessly. 

" I have lived now for many years in this lake and I have a 
large family of children and grandchildren. For some time past 
we have lived in terror, for a monster centipede has discovered 

B 2 

4 Japanese Fairy Rook. 

our home, and night alter night it comes and carries off one 
of my family. I am powerless to save them. If it goes on 
much longer like this, not only shall I lose all my children, but 
I myself must fall a victim to the monster. I am, therefore, 
very unhappy, and in my extremity I determined to ask the 
help of a human being. For many days with this intention I 
have waited on the bridge in the shape of the horrible serpent- 
dragon that you saw, in the hope that some strong brave man 
would come along. But all who came this way, as soon as 
they saw me were terrified and ran away as fast as they could. 
You are the first man I have found able to look at me without 
fear, so I knew at once that you were a man of great courage. 
I beg you to have pity upon me. Will you not help me and 
kill my enemy the centipede ? ' 

Hidesato felt very sorry for the Dragon King on hearing his 
story, and readily promised to do what he could to help him. 
The warrior asked where the centipede lived, so that he might 
attack the creature at once. The Dragon King replied that 
its home was on the mountain Mikami, but that as it came 
every night at a certain hour to the palace of the lake, it 
would be better to wait till then. So Hidesato was conducted 
to the palace of the Dragon King, under the bridge. Strange 
to say, as he followed his host downwards the waters parted to 
let them pass, and his clothes did not even feel damp as he 
passed through the flood. Never had Hidesato seen anything so 
beautiful as this palace built of white marble beneath the lake. 
He had often heard of the Sea King's Palace at the bottom of 
the sea, where all the servants and retainers were salt-water 
fishes, but here was a magnificent building in the heart of 

My Lord Bag of Rice. 5 

Lake Biwa. The dainty goldfishes, red carp, and silvery trout, 
waited upon the Dragon King and his guest. 

Hidesato was astonished at the feast that was spread for 
him. The dishes were crystallised lotus leaves and flowers, 
and the chopsticks were of the rarest ebony. As soon as they 
sat down, the sliding doors opened and ten lovely goldfish 
dancers came out, and behind them followed ten red-carp 
musicians with the koto and the samisen. Thus the hours 
flew by till midnight, and the beautiful music and dancing had 
banished all thoughts of the centipede. The Dragon King was 
about to pledge the warrior in a fresh cup of wine when the 
palace was suddenly shaken by a tramp, tramp ! as if a 
mighty army had begun to march not far away. 

Hidesato and his host both rose to their feet and rushed 
to the balcony, and the warrior saw on the opposite mountain 
two great balls of glowing fire coming nearer and nearer. 
The Dragon King stood by the warrior's side trembling 
with fear. 

" The centipede ! The centipede ! Those two balls of fire are 
its eyes. It is coming for its prey ! Now is the time to kill it." 

Hidesato looked where his host pointed, and, in the dim 
light of the starlit evening, behind the two balls of fire he 
saw the long body of an enormous centipede winding round 
the mountains, and the light in its hundred feet glowed like 
so many distant lanterns moving slowly towards the shore. 

Hidesato showed not the least sign of fear. He tried to 
calm the Dragon King. 

" Don't be afraid. I shall surely kill the centipede. Just 
bring me my bow and arrows." 

Japanese Fairy Book. 

Hidesato took another Arrow. 

My Lord Bag of Rice. 7 

The Dragon King did as he was bid, and the warrior 
noticed that he had only three arrows left in his quiver. He 
took the bow, and fitting an arrow to the notch, took careful 
aim and let fly. 

The arrow hit the centipede right in the middle of its head, 
but instead of penetrating, it glanced off harmless and fell to 
the ground. 

Nothing daunted, Hidesato took another arrow, fitted 
it to the notch of the bow and let fly. Again the arrow 
hit the mark, it struck the centipede right in the middle 
of its head, only to glance off and fall to the ground. The 
centipede was invulnerable to weapons ! When the Dragon 
King saw that even this brave warrior's arrows were power- 
less to kill the centipede, he lost heart and began to tremble 
with fear. 

The warrior saw that he had now only one arrow left in his 
quiver, and if this one failed he could not kill the centipede. 
He looked across the waters. The huge reptile had wound its 
horrid body seven times round the mountain and would soon 
come down to the lake. Nearer and nearer gleamed the fire- 
balls of eyes, and the light of its hundred feet began to throw 
reflections in the still waters of the lake. 

Then suddenly the warrior remembered that he had heard 
that human saliva was deadly to centipedes. But this was no 
ordinary centipede. This was so monstrous that even to think 
of such a creature made one creep with horror. Hidesato 
determined to tiy his last chance. So taking his last arrow 
and first putting the end of it in his mouth, he fitted the notch to 
his bow, took careful aim once more and let fly. 

8 Japanese Fairy Book. 

This time the arrow again hit the centipede right in the 
middle of its head, but instead of glancing off harmlessly as 
hefore, it struck home to the creature's brain. Then with a 
convulsive shudder the serpentine body stopped moving, and 
the fiery light of its great eyes and hundred feet darkened to 
a dull glare like the sunset of a stormy day, and then went out 
in blackness. A great darkness now overspread the heavens, 
the thunder rolled and the lightning flashed, and the wind 
roared in fury, and it seemed as if the world were coming 
to an end. The Dragon King and his children and retainers 
all crouched in different parts of the palace, frightened to death, 
for the building was shaken to its foundations. At last the 
dreadful night was over. Day dawned beautiful and clear. 
The centipede was gone from the mountain. 

Then Hidesato called to the Dragon King to come out 
with him on the balcony, for the centipede was dead and he 
had nothing more to fear. 

Then all the inhabitants of the palace came out with joy, 
and Hidesato pointed to the lake. There lay the body of the 
dead centipede floating on the water, which was dyed red with 
its blood. 

The gratitude of the Dragon King knew no bounds. The 
whole family came and bowed down before the warrior, calling 
him their preserver and the bravest warrior in all Japan. 

Another feast was prepared, more sumptuous than the first. 
All kinds of fish, prepared in every imaginable way, raw, stewed, 
boiled and roasted, served on coral trays and crystal dishes, 
were put before him, and the wine was the best that Hidesato 
had ever tasted in his life. To add to the beauty of everything 

My Lord Bag of Rice. 9 

the sun shone brightly, the lake glittered like a liquid diamond, 
and the palace was a thousand times more beautiful by day 
than by night. 

His host tried to persuade the warrior to stay a few days, 
but Hidesato insisted on going home, saying that he had 
now finished what he had come to do, and must return. The 
Dragon King and his family were all very sorry to have him 
leave so soon, but since he would go they begged him to accept 
a few small presents (so they said) in token of their gratitude 
to him for delivering them for ever from their horrible enemy 
the centipede. 

As the warrior stood in the porch taking leave, a train ot 
fish was suddenly transformed into a retinue of men, all wearing 
ceremonial robes and dragon's crowns on their heads to show 
that they were servants of the great Dragon King. The 
presents that they carried were as follows : 

First, a large bronze bell. 

Second, a bag of rice. 

Third, a roll of silk. 

Fourth, a cooking pot. 

Fifth, a bell. 

Hidesato did not want to accept all these presents, but as 
the Dragon King insisted, he could not well refuse. 

The Dragon King himself accompanied the warrior as far 
as the bridge, and then took leave of him with many bows and 
good wishes, leaving the procession of servants to accompany 
Hidesato to his house with the presents. 

The warrior's household and servants had been very much 
concerned when they found that he did not return the night 


Japanese Fairy Book. 

before, but they finally concluded that he had been kept by the 
violent storm and had taken shelter somewhere. When the 

The Procession. 

servants on the watch for his return caught sight of him they 
called to everyone that he was approaching, and the whole 
household turned out to meet him, wondering much what the 

My Lord Bag of Rice. 1 1 

retinue of men, bearing presents and banners, that followed 
him, could mean. 

As soon as the Dragon King's retainers had put down 
the presents they vanished, and Hidesato told all that had 
happened to him. 

The presents which he had received from the grateful 
Dragon King were found to be of magic power. The bell 
only was ordinary, and as Hidesato had no use for it he 
presented it to the temple near by, where it was hung 
up, to boom out the hour of day over the surrounding 

The single bag of rice, however much was taken from it 
day after day for the meals of the knight and his whole family, 
never grew less the supply in the bag was inexhaustible. 

The roll of silk, too, never grew shorter, though time after 
time long pieces were cut off to make the warrior a new suit oi 
clothes to go to Court in at the New Year. 

The cooking pot was wonderful, too. No matter what was 
put into it, it cooked deliciously whatever was wanted without 
any firing truly a very economical saucepan. 

The fame of Hidesato's fortune spread far and wide, and 
as there was no need for him to spend money on rice or silk or 
firing, he became very rich and prosperous, and was henceforth 
known as My Lord Bag of Rice. 


LONG, long ago in Japan there lived an old man and his wife. 
The old man was a good, kind-hearted, hard-working old 
fellow, but his wife was a regular cross-patch, who spoilt the 
happiness of her home by her scolding tongue. She was 
always grumbling about something from morning to night. 
The old man had for a long time ceased to take any notice 
of her crossness. He was out most of the day at work in the 
fields, and as he had no child, for his amusement when he 
came home, he kept a tame sparrow. He loved the little bird 
just as much as if she had been his child. 

When he came back at night after his hard day's work in 
the open air it was his only pleasure to pet the sparrow, to 
talk to her and to teach her little tricks, which she learned 
very quickly. The old man would open her cage and let her 
fly about the room, and they would play together. Then 
when supper-time came, he always saved some tit-bits from 
his meal with which to feed his little bird. 

Now one day the old man went out to chop wood in the 
forest, and the old woman stopped at home to wash clothes. 
The day before, she had made some starch, and now when she 
came to look for it, it was all gone ; the bowl which she had 
filled full yesterday was quite empty. 

While she was wondering who could have used or stolen 

The Tongue-cut Sparrow. 13 

the starch, down flew the pet sparrow, and bowing her little 
feathered head a trick which she had been taught by her 
master the pretty bird chirped and said : 

" It is I who have taken the starch. I thought it was 
some food put out for me in that basin, and I ate it all. If I 
have made a mistake I beg you to forgive me ! tweet, tweet, 
tweet! " 

You see from this that the sparrow was a truthful bird, 
and the old woman ought to have been willing to forgive 
her at once when she asked her pardon so nicely. But 
not so 

The old woman had never loved the sparrow, and had often 
quarrelled with her husband for keeping what she called a 
dirty bird about the house, saying that it only made extra 
work for her. Now she was only too delighted to have some 
cause of complaint against the pet. She scolded and even 
cursed the poor little bird for her bad behaviour, and not 
content with using these harsh, unfeeling words, in a fit of 
rage she seized the sparrow who all this time had spread out 
her wings and bowed her head before the old woman, to show 
how sorry she was and fetched the scissors and cut off the 
poor little bird's tongue. 

" I suppose you took my starch with that tongue ! Now 
you may see what it is like to go without it ! ' And with 
these dreadful words she drove the bird away, not caring in 
the least what might happen to it and without the smallest 
pity for its suffering, so unkind was she ! 

The old woman, after she had driven the sparrow away, 
made some more rice-paste, grumbling all the time at the 


Japanese Fairy Book. 

^t sr^ 


3-^ "' '' 

And with these Dreadful Words she drove the Bird away, 


The Tongue-cut Sparrow. 15 

trouble, and after starching all her clothes, spread the things 
on boards to dry in the sun, instead of ironing them as they 
do in England. 

In the evening the old man came home. As usual, on the 
way back he looked forward to the time when he should reach 
his gate and see his pet come flying and chirping to meet him, 
ruffling out her feathers to show her joy, and at last coming to 
rest on his shoulder. But to-night the old man was very 
disappointed, for not even the shadow of his dear sparrow was 
to be seen. 

He quickened his steps, hastily drew off his straw sandals, 
and stepped on to the verandah. Still no sparrow was to be 
seen. He now felt sure that his wife, in one of her cross 
tempers, had shut the sparrow up in its cage. So he called 
her and said anxiously : 

" Where is Suzume San (Miss Sparrow) to-day ? " 

The old woman pretended not to know at first, and 
answered : 

" Your sparrow ? I am sure I don't know. Now I come 
to think of it, I haven't seen her all the afternoon. I shouldn't 
wonder if the ungrateful bird had flown away and left you 
after all your petting ! ' 

But at last, when the old man gave her no peace, but 
asked her again and again, insisting that she must know what 
had happened to his pet, she confessed all. She told him 
crossly how the sparrow had eaten the rice-paste she had 
specially made for starching her clothes, and how when the 
sparrow had confessed to what she had done, in great anger 
she had taken her scissors and cut out her tongue, and how 

16 Japanese Fairy Book. 

finally she had driven the bird away and forbidden her to 
return to the house again. 

Then the old woman showed her husband the sparrow's 
tongue, saying : 

" Here is the tongue I cut off! Horrid little bird, why did 
it eat all my starch ? ' 

" How could you be so cruel? Oh ! how could you be so 
cruel ? " was all that the old man could answer. He was too 
kind-hearted to punish his shrew of a wife, but he was terribly 
distressed at what had happened to his poor little sparrow. 

" What a dreadful misfortune for my poor Suzume San to 
lose her tongue ! " he said to himself. " She won't be able to 
chirp any more, and surely the pain of the cutting of it out in 
that rough way must have made her ill ! Is there nothing to 
be done ? ' 

The old man shed many tears after his cross wife had gone 
to sleep. While he wiped away the tears with the sleeve of 
his cotton robe, a bright thought comforted him : he would go 
and look for the sparrow on the morrow. Having decided this 
he was able to go to sleep at last. 

The next morning he rose early, as soon as ever the day 
broke, and snatching a hasty breakfast, started out over the 
hills and through the woods, stopping at every clump of 
bamboos to cry : 

"Where, oh where does my tongue-cut sparrow stay? 
W 7 here, oh where, does my tongue-cut sparrow stay ? ' 

He never stopped to rest for his noonday meal, and it was 
far on in the afternoon when he found himself near a large 
bamboo wood. Bamboo groves are the favourite haunts of 

The Tongue-cut Sparrow. 17 

sparrows, and there sure enough at the edge of the wood he 
saw his own dear sparrow waiting to welcome him. He could 
hardly believe his eyes for joy, and ran forward quickly to greet 
her. She bowed her little head and went through a number 
of the tricks her master had taught her, to show her pleasure 
at seeing her old friend again, and, wonderful to relate, she 
could talk as of old. The old man told her how sorry he was 
for all that had happened, and inquired after her tongue, 
wondering how she could speak so well without it. Then the 
sparrow opened her beak and showed him that a new tongue 
had grown in place of the old one, and begged him not to 
think any more about the past, for she was quite well now. 
Then the old man knew that his sparrow was a fairy, and 
no common bird. It would be difficult to exaggerate the 
old man's rejoicing now. He forgot all his troubles, he 
forgot even how tired he was, for he had found his lost 
sparrow, and instead of being ill and without a tongue as 
he had feared and expected to find her, she was well and 
happy and with a new tongue, and without a sign of the 
ill-treatment she had received from his wife. And above 
all she was a fairy. 

The sparrow asked him to follow her, and flying before 
him she led him to a beautiful house in the heart of the 
bamboo grove. The old man was utterly astonished when 
he entered the house to find what a beautiful place it was 
It was built of the whitest wood, the soft cream-coloured 
mats which took the place of carpets were the finest he 
had ever seen, and the cushions that the sparrow brought 
out for him to sit on were made of the finest silk and 
F.B. c 


Japanese Fairy Book. 

crape. Beautiful vases and lacquer boxes adorned the 
tokonoma l of every room. 

The sparrow led the old man to the place of honour, and 
then, taking her place at a humble distance, she thanked him 

The Lady Sparrow introduced all her Family. 

with many polite bows for all the kindness he had shown her 
for many long years. 

Then the Lady Sparrow, as we will now call her, introduced 

all her family to the old man. This done, her daughters, robed in 

dainty crape gowns, brought in on beautiful old-fashioned trays 

a feast of all kinds of delicious foods, till the old man began to 

1 An alcove where precious objects are displayed. 

The Tongue-cut Sparrow. 19 

think he must be dreaming. In the middle of the dinner some of 
the sparrow's daughters performed a wonderful dance, called the 
" Suzume-odori " or the " Sparrow's dance," to amuse the guest. 

Never had the old man enjoyed himself so much. The 
hours flew by too quickly in this lovely spot, with all these 
fairy sparrows to wait upon him and to feast him and to dance 
before him. 

But the night came on and the darkness reminded him that 
he had a long way to go and must think about taking his leave 
and return home. He thanked his kind hostess for her splendid 
entertainment, and begged her for his sake to forget all she had 
suffered at the hands of his cross old wife. He told the Lady 
Sparrow that it was a great comfort and happiness to him to 
find her in such a beautiful home and to know that she wanted 
for nothing. It was his anxiety to know how she fared and 
what had really happened to her that had led him to seek her. 
Now he knew that all was well he could return home with a 
light heart. If ever she wanted him for anything she had 
only to send for him and he would come at once. 

The Lady Sparrow begged him to stay and rest several 
days and enjoy the change, but the old man said that he must 
return to his old wife who would probably be cross at his not 
coming home at the usual time and to his work, and therefore, 
much as he wished to do so, he could not accept her kind 
invitation. But now that he knew where tht Lady Sparrow 
lived he would come to see her whenever he had the time. 

When the Lady Sparrow saw that she could not persuade 
the old man to stay longer, she gave an order to some of her 
servants, and they at once brought in two boxes, one large and 

c 2 

2O Japanese Fairy Book. 

the other small. These were placed before the old man, and 
the Lady Sparrow asked him to choose whichever he liked 
for a present, which she wished to give him. 

The old man could not refuse this kind proposal, and he 
chose the smaller box, saying : 

" I am now too old and feeble to carry the big and heavy 
box. As you are so kind as to say that I may take whichever 
I like, I will choose the small one, which will be easier for me 
to carry." 

Then the sparrows all helped him put it on his back and 
went to the gate to see him off, bidding him good-bye with 
many bows and entreating him to come again whenever he had 
the time. Thus the old man and his pet sparrow separated 
quite happily, the sparrow showing not the least ill-will for all 
the unkindness she had suffered at the hands of the old wife. 
Indeed, she only felt sorrow for the old man who had to put 
up with it all his life. 

When the old man reached home he found his wife even 
crosser than usual, for it was late on in the night and she had 
been waiting up for him for a long time. 

" Where have you been all this time ? " she asked in a big 
voice. ( "Why do you come back so late ?" 

The old man tried to pacify her by showing her the box of 
presents he had brought back with him, and then he told her 
of all that had happened to him, and how wonderfully he had 
been entertained at the sparrow's house. 

" Now let us see what is in the box," said the old man, not 
giving her time to grumble again. " You must help me open 
it." And they both sat down before the box and opened it. 

The Tongue-cut Sparrow. 21 

To their utter astonishment they found the box filled to the 
brim with gold and silver coins and many other precious things. 
The mats of their little cottage fairly glittered as they took out 
the things one by one and put them down and handled them 
over and over again. The old man was overjoyed at the sight 
of the riches that were now his. Beyond his brightest expecta- 
tions was the sparrow's gift, which would enable him to give up 
work and live in ease and comfort the rest of his days. 

He said : " Thanks to my good little sparrow ! Thanks to 
my good little sparrow ! " many times. 

But the old woman, after the first moments of surprise and 
satisfaction at the sight of the gold and silver were over, could 
not suppress the greed of her wicked nature. She now began 
to reproach the old man for not having brought home the big 
box of presents, for in the innocence of his heart he had told 
her how he had refused the large box of presents which the 
sparrows had offered him, preferring the smaller one because it 
was light and easy to carry home. 

"You silly old man," said she, " why did you not bring the 
large box ? Just think what we have lost. We might have had 
twice as much silver and gold as this. You are certainly an 
old fool ! " she screamed, and then went to bed as angry as she 
could be. 

The old man now wished that he had said nothing about 
the big box, but it was too late ; the greedy old woman, not 
contented with the good luck which had so unexpectedly 
befallen them and which she so little deserved, made up her 
mind, if possible, to get more. 

Early the next morning she got up and made the old man 

22 Japanese Fairy Book. 

describe the way to the sparrow's house. When he saw what 
was in her mind he tried to keep her from going, but it was 
useless. She would not listen to one word he said. It is 
strange that the old woman did not feel ashamed of going to 
see the sparrow after the cruel way she had treated her in 
cutting off her tongue in a fit of rage. But her greed to get the 
big box made her forget everything else. It did not even enter 
her thoughts that the sparrows might be angry with her as, 
indeed, they were and might punish her for what she had done. 

Ever since the Lady Sparrow had returned home in the sad 
plight in which they had first found her, weeping and bleeding 
from the mouth, her whole family and relations had done little 
else but speak of the cruelty of the old woman. " How could 
she," they asked each other, " inflict such a heavy punishment 
for such a trifling offence as that of eating some rice-paste by 
mistake ?" They all loved the old man who was so kind and 
good and patient under all his troubles, but the old woman they 
hated, and they determined, if ever they had the chance, to 
punish her as she deserved. They had not long to wait. 

After walking for some hours the old woman had at last 
found the bamboo grove which she had made her husband 
carefully describe, and now she stood before it crying out : 

" Where is the tongue-cut sparrow's house ? Where is the 
tongue-cut sparrow's house ? " 

At last she saw the eaves of the house peeping out from 
amongst the bamboo foliage. She hastened to the door and 
knocked loudly. 

When the servants told the Lady Sparrow that her old 
mistress was at the door asking to see her, she was somewhat 

The Tongue-cut Sparrow. 23 

surprised at the unexpected visit, after all that had taken place, 
and she wondered not a little at the boldness of the old woman 
in venturing to come to the house. The Lady Sparrow, 
however, was a polite bird, and so she went out to greet the old 
woman, remembering that she had once been her mistress. 

The old woman intended, however, to waste no time in 
words, she went right to the point, without the least shame, 
and said : 

" You need not trouble to entertain me as you did my old I have come myself to get the box which he so stupidly 
left behind. I shall soon take my leave if you will give me the 
big box that is all I want ! ' 

The Lady Sparrow at once consented, and told her servants 
to bring out the big box. The old woman eagerly seized it and 
hoisted it on her back, and without even stopping to thank the 
Lady Sparrow began to hurry homewards. 

The box was so heavy that she could not walk fast, much 
less run, as she would have liked to do, so anxious was she to 
get home and see what was inside the box, but she had often 
to sit down and rest herself by the way. 

While she was staggering along under the heavy load, her 
desire to open the box became too great to be resisted. She 
could wait no longer, for she supposed this big box to be full 
of gold and silver and precious jewels like the small one 
her husband had received. 

At last this greedy and selfish old woman put down the box 
by the wayside and opened it carefully, expecting to gloat her 
eyes on a mine of wealth. What she saw, however, so terrified 
her that she nearly lost her senses. As soon as she lifted the 

Japanese Fairy Book. 

', i "' ^yy m 1 I 


C'y ' 

-, - . , -. - . \ , r -. . 


' : ; >?rf*- 


The Old Woman had never been so Frightened in her Life. 

The Tongue-cut Sparrow. 25 

lid, a number of horrible and frightful looking demons bounced 
out of the box and surrounded her as if they intended to kill 
her. Not even in nightmares had she ever seen such horrible 
creatures as her much-coveted box contained. A demon with 
one huge eye right in the middle of its forehead came and 
glared at her, monsters with gaping mouths looked as if they 
would devour her, a huge snake coiled and hissed about her, 
and a big frog hopped and croaked towards her. 

The old woman had never been so frightened in her life, 
and ran from the spot as fast as her quaking legs would carry 
her, glad to escape alive. When she reached home she fell to 
the floor and told her husband with tears all that had happened 
to her, and how she had been nearly killed by the demons in 
the box. 

Then she began to blame the sparrow, but the old man 
stopped her at once, saying : 

" Don't blame the sparrow, it is your wickedness which has 
at last met with its reward. I only hope this may be a lesson 
to you in the future ! " 

The old woman said nothing more, and from that day she 
repented of her cross, unkind ways, and by degrees became a 
good old woman, so that her husband hardly knew her to be 
the same person, and they spent their last days together happily, 
free from want or care, spending carefully the treasure the old 
man had received from his pet, the tongue-cut sparrow. 



LONG, long ago in the province of Tango there lived on 
the shore of Japan in the little fishing village of Mizu-no-ye a 
young fisherman named Urashima Taro. His father had 
been a fisherman before him, and his skill had more than 
doubly descended to his son, for Urashima was the most 
skilful fisher in all that country side, and could catch more 
bonito and tai in a day than his comrades could in a week. 

But in the little fishing village, more than for being a clever 
fisher of the sea was he known for his kind heart. In his whole 
life he had never hurt anything, either great or small, and when 
a boy, his companions had always laughed at him, for he would 
never join with them in teasing animals, but always tried to keep 
them from this cruel sport. 

One soft summer twilight he was going home at the end of 
a day's fishing when he came upon a group of children. They 
were all screaming and talking at the tops of their voices, and 
seemed to be in a state of great excitement about something, 
and on his going up to them to see what was the matter he 
saw that they were tormenting a tortoise. First one boy pulled 
it this way, then another boy pulled it that way, while a third 
child beat it with a stick, and the fourth hammered its shell 
with a stone. 

The Story of Urashima Taro, the Fisher Lad. 27 

Now Urashima felt very sorry for the poor tortoise and 
made up his mind to rescue it. He spoke to the boys : 

" Look here, boys, you are treating that poor tortoise so 
badly that it will soon die ! " 

The boys, who were all of an age when children seem to 
delight in being cruel to animals, took no notice of Urashima's 
gentle reproof, but went on teasing it as before. One of the 
older boys answered : 

"Who cares whether it lives or dies ? We do not. Here, 
boys, go on, go on ! ' 

And they began to treat the poor tortoise more cruelly than 
ever. Urashima waited a moment, turning over in his mind 
what would be the best way to deal with the boys. He would 
try to persuade them to give the tortoise up to him, so he smiled 
at them and said : 

" I am sure you are all good, kind boys ! Now won't you 
give me the tortoise ? I should like to have it so much ! " 

" No, we won't give you the tortoise," said one of the boys. 
" Why should we ? We caught it ourselves." 

" What you say is true," said Urashima, " but I do not ask 
you to give it to me for nothing. I will give you some money 
for it in other words, the Ojisan (Uncle) will buy it of you. 
Won't that do for you, my boys ? " He held up the money to 
them, strung on a piece of string through a hole in the centre 
of each coin, " Look, boys, you can buy anything you like 
with this money. You can do much more with this money 
than you can with that poor tortoise. See what good boys you 
are to listen to me." 

The boys were not bad boys at all, they were only 

28 Japanese Fairy Book. 

mischievous, and as Urashima spoke they were won by his 
kind smile and gentle words and began "to be of his spirit," 
as they say in Japan. Gradually they all came up to him, 
the ringleader of the little band holding out the tortoise to 

" Very well, Ojisan, we will give you the tortoise if you will 
give us the money 1 " And Urashima took the tortoise and gave 
the money to the boys, who, calling to each other, scampered 
away and were soon out of sight. 

Then Urashima stroked the tortoise's back, saying as he 
did so : 

" Oh, you poor thing! Poor thing! there, there! you are 
safe now ! They say that a stork lives for a thousand years, 
but the tortoise for ten thousand years. You have the longest 
life of any creature in this world, and you were in great danger 
of having that precious life cut short by those cruel boys. 
Luckily I was passing by and saved you, and so life is still 
yours. Now I am going to take you back to your home, the 
sea, at once. Do not let yourself be caught again, for there 
might be no one to save you next time ! ' 

All the time that the kind fisherman was speaking he was 
walking quickly to the shore and out upon the rocks ; then 
putting the tortoise into the water he watched the animal dis- 
appear, and turned homewards himself, for he was tired and 
the sun had set. 

The next morning Urashima went out as usual in his boat. 
The weather was fine and the sea and sky were both blue and 
soft in the tender haze of the summer morning. Urashima got 
into his boat and dreamily pushed out to sea, throwing his line 

The Story of Urashima Taro, the Fisher Lad. 29 

as he did so. He soon passed the other fishing boats and left 
them behind him till they were lost to sight in the distance, and 
his boat drifted further and further out upon the blue waters. 
Somehow, he knew not why, he felt unusually happy that 
morning; and he could not help wishing that, like the tortoise 
he set free the day before, he had thousands of years to live 
instead of his own short span of human life. 

He was suddenly startled from his reverie by hearing his 
own name called : 

" Urashima, Urashima ! " 

Clear as a bell and soft as the summer wind the name floated 
over the sea. 

He stood up and looked in every direction, thinking that one 
of the other boats had overtaken him, but gaze as he might 
over the wide expanse of water, near or far there was no sign 
of a boat, so the voice could not have come from any human 

Startled, and wondering who or what it was that had called 
him so clearly, he looked in all directions round about him and 
saw that without his knowing it a tortoise had come to the side 
of the boat. Urashima saw with surprise that it was the very 
tortoise he had rescued the day before. 

" Well, Mr. Tortoise," said Urashima, "was it you who 
called my name just now ? " 

The tortoise nodded its head several times, and said : 

" Yes, it was I. Yesterday in your honourable shadow 
(o kage sama de) my life was saved, and I have come to offer 
you my thanks and to tell you how grateful I am for your 
kindness to me." 

30 Japanese Fairy Book. 

"Indeed," said Urashima, "that is very polite of you. 
Come up into the boat. I would offer you a smoke, but as you 
are a tortoise doubtless you do not smoke," and the fisherman 
laughed at the joke. 

" He he he he ! " laughed the tortoise ; "sake (rice wine) 
is my favourite refreshment, but I do not care for tobacco." 

" Indeed," said Urashima, " I regret very much that I 
have no ' sake ' in my boat to offer you, but come up and 
dry your back in the sun tortoises always love to do that." 

So the tortoise climbed into the boat, the fisherman help- 
ing him, and after an exchange of complimentary speeches the 
tortoise said : 

" Have you ever seen Rin Gin, the Palace of the Dragon 
King of the Sea, Urashima ?' 

The fisherman shook his head and replied : " No ; year 
after year the sea has been my home, but though I have often 
heard of the Dragon King's realm under the sea I have never 
yet set eyes on that wonderful place. It must be very far away, 
if it exists at all ! " 

" Is that really so ? You have never seen the Sea King's 
Palace ? Then you have missed seeing one of the most 
wonderful sights in the whole universe. It is far away at the 
bottom of the sea, but if I take you there we shall soon reach 
the place. If you would like to see the Sea King's land I will 
be your guide." 

" I should like to go there, certainly, and you are very kind 
to think of taking me, but you must remember that I am only 
a poor mortal and have not the power of swimming like a sea 
creature such as you are " 

The Story of Urashima Taro, the Fisher Lad. 31 

Before the fisherman could say more the tortoise stopped 
him, saying : 

" What ? You need not swim yourself. If you will ride on 
my back I will take you without any trouble on your part." 

" But," said Urashima, " how is it possible for me to ride 
on your small back ? ' 

" It may seem absurd to you, but I assure you that you can 
do so. Try at once ! Just come and get on my back, and 
see if it is as impossible as you think ! ' 

As the tortoise finished speaking, Urashima looked at its 
shell, and strange to say he saw that the creature had suddenly 
grown so big that a man could easily sit on its back. 

"This is strange indeed!" said Urashima; "then, Mr. 
Tortoise, with your kind permission I will get on your back. 
Dokoisho / " 1 he exclaimed as he jumped on. 

The tortoise, with an unmoved face, as if this strange pro- 
ceeding were quite an ordinary event, said : 

" Now we will set out at our leisure," and with these words 
he leapt into the sea with Urashima on his back. Down 
through the water the tortoise dived. For a long time these 
two strange companions rode through the sea. Urashima 
never grew tired, nor his clothes moist with the water. At last, 
far away in the distance a magnificent gate appeared, and behind 
the gate, the long, sloping roofs of a palace on the horizon. 

" Ya," exclaimed Urashima, "that looks like the gate of 
some large palace just appearing ! Mr. Tortoise, can you tell 
what that place is we can now see ? " 

" That is the great gate of the Rin Gin Palace. The large 
1 " All right " (only used by lower classes). 

Japanese Fairy Book. 

roof that you see behind the gate is the Sea King's Palace 

" Then we have at last come to the realm of the Sea King 
and to his Palace," said Urashima. 

" Yes, indeed," answered the tortoise, " and don't you think 

' ; ' : '^ K tt^SM;& 


' ^ JB Jp ' 


/iL^r 1 ' 

The Gate of some large Palace. 

we have come very quickly ? " And while he was speaking the 
tortoise reached the side of the gate. " And here we are, and 
you must please walk from here." 

The tortoise now went in front, and speaking to the gate- 
keeper said : 

" This is Urashima Taro, from the country of Japan. I 

The Story of Urashima Taro, the Fisher Lad. 33 

have had the honour of bringing him as a visitor to this 
kingdom. Please show him the way." 

Then the gatekeeper, who was a fish, at once led the way 
through the gate before them. 

The red bream, the flounder, the sole, the cuttlefish, and 
all the chief vassals of the Dragon King of the Sea now came 
out with courtly bows to welcome the stranger. 

lt Urashima Sama, Urashima Sama ! welcome to the Sea 
Palace, the home of the Dragon King of the Sea. Thrice 
welcome are you, having come from such a distant country. 
And you, Mr. Tortoise, we are greatly indebted to you for all 
your trouble in bringing Urashima here." Then, turning 
again to Urashima, they said, " Please follow us this way," 
and from here the whole band of fishes became his guides. 

Urashima, being only a poor fisher lad, did not know how 
to behave in a palace ; but, strange though it all was to him, 
he did not feel ashamed or embarrassed, but followed his kind 
guides quite calmly where they led to the inner palace. When 
he reached the portals a beautiful Princess with her attendant 
maidens came out to welcome him. She was more beautiful 
than any human being, and was robed in flowing garments 
of red and soft green like the under side of a wave, and 
golden threads glimmered through the folds of her gown. Her 
lovely black hair streamed over her shoulders in the fashion 
of a king's daughter many hundreds of years ago, and when 
she spoke her voice sounded like music over the water. 
Urashima was lost in wonder while he looked upon her, and 
he could not speak. Then he remembered that he ought to 
bow, but before he could make a low obeisance the Princess 

F.B. I) 

34 Japanese Fairy Book. 

took him by the hand and led him to a beautiful hall, and to 
the seat of honour at the upper end, and bade him be seated. 

" Urashima Taro, it gives me the highest pleasure to 
welcome you to my father's kingdom," said the Princess. 
" Yesterday you set free a tortoise, and I have sent for you to 
thank you for saving my life, for I was that tortoise. Now it 
you like you shall live here for ever in the land of eternal 
youth, where summer never dies and where sorrow never comes, 
and I will be your bride if you will, and we will live together 
happily for ever afterwards ! ' 

And as Urashima listened to her sweet words and gazed 
upon her lovely face his heart was filled with a great wonder and 
joy, and he answered her, wondering if it was not all a dream : 

" Thank you a thousand times for your kind speech. There 
is nothing I could wish for more than to be permitted to stay 
here with you in this beautiful land, of which I have often 
heard, but have never seen to this day. Beyond all words, this 
is the most wonderful place I have ever seen." 

While he was speaking a train of fishes appeared, all 
dressed in ceremonial, trailing garments. One by one, silently 
and with stately steps, they entered the hall, bearing on coral 
trays delicacies of fish and seaweed, such as no one can dream 
of, and this wondrous feast was set before the bride and bride- 
groom. The bridal was celebrated with dazzling splendour, 
and in the Sea King's realm there was great rejoicing. As 
soon as the young pair had pledged themselves in the wedding 
cup of wine, three times three, music was played, and songs 
were sung, and fishes with silver scales and golden tails 
stepped in from the waves and danced. Urashima enjoyed 

The Story of Urashima Taro, the Fisher Lad. 35 

himself with all his heart. Never in his whole life had he sat 
down to such a marvellous feast. 

When the feast was over the Princess asked the bride- 
groom if he would like to walk through the palace and see all 
there was to be seen. Then the happy fisherman, following 
his bride, the Sea King's daughter, was shown all the wonders 
of that enchanted land where youth and joy go hand in hand 
and neither time nor age can touch them. The palace was 
built of coral and adorned with pearls, and the beauties and 
wonders of the place were so great that the tongue fails to 
describe them. 

But, to Urashima, more wonderful than the palace was the 
garden that surrounded it. Here was to be seen at one time 
the scenery of the four different seasons ; the beauties ol 
summer and winter, spring and autumn, were displayed to the 
wondering visitor at once. 

First, when he looked to the east, the plum and cherry 
trees were seen in full bloom, the nightingales sang in the 
pink avenues, and butterflies flitted from flower to flower. 

Looking to the south all the trees were green in the fulness 
of summer, and the day cicala and the night cricket chirruped 

Looking to the west the autumn maples were ablaze like a 
sunset sky, and the chrysanthemums were in perfection. 

Looking to the north the change made Urashima start, for 
the ground was silver white with snow, and trees and bamboos 
were also covered with snow and the pond was thick 
with ice. 

And each day there were new joys and new wonders for 

D 2 

36 Japanese Fairy Book. 

Urashima, and so great was his happiness that he forgot 
everything, even the home he had left behind and his parents 
and his own country, and three days passed without his even 
thinking of all he had left behind. Then his mind came 
back to him and he remembered who he was, and that he did 
not belong to this wonderful land or the Sea King's palace, 
and he said to himself: 

" dear ! I must not stay on here, for I have an old father 
and mother at home. What can have happened to them all 
this time ? How anxious they must have been these days when 
I did not return as usual. I must go back at once without 
letting one more day pass." And he began to prepare for the 
journey in great haste. 

Then he went to his beautiful wife, the Princess, and 
bowing low before her he said : 

" Indeed, I have been very happy with you for a long time, 
Otohime Sama " (for that was her name), " and you have been 
kinder to me than any words can tell. But now I must say 
good-bye. I must go back to my old parents." 

Then Otohime Sama began to weep, and said softly 
and sadly : 

" Is it not well with you here, Urashima, that you wish to 
leave me so soon ? Where is the haste ? Stay with me yet 
another day only ! " 

But Urashima had remembered his old parents, and in 
Japan the duty to parents is stronger than everything else, 
stronger even than pleasure or love, and he would not be 
persuaded, but answered : 

" Indeed, I must go. Do not think that I wish to leave 

The Story of Urashima Taro, the Fisher Lad. 37 

you. It is not that. I must go and see my old parents. Let 
me go for one day and I will come back to you." 

"Then," said the Princess sorrowfully, "there is nothing 
to be done. I will send you back to-day to your father and 
mother, and instead of trying to keep you with me one more 
day, I shall give you this as a token of our love please take 
it back with you " ; and she brought him a beautiful lacquer box 
tied about with a silken cord and tassels of red silk. 

Urashima had received so much from the Princess already 
that he felt some compunction in taking the gift, and said : 

" It does not seem right for me to take yet another gift 
from you after all the many favours I have received at your 
hands, but because it is your wish I will do so," and then 
he added : 

" Tell me what is this box ? " 

" That," answered the Princess " is the Tamate-Bako (Box 
of the Jewel Hand), and it contains something very precious. 
You must not open this box, whatever happens ! If you open 
it something dreadful will happen to you ! Now promise me 
that you will never open this box ! " 

And Urashima promised that he would never, never open 
the box whatever happened. 

Then bidding good-bye to Otohime Sama he went down to 
the seashore, the Princess and her attendants following him, 
and there he found a large tortoise waiting for him. 

He quickly mounted the creature's back and was carried 
away over the shining sea into the East. He looked back to 
wave his hand to Otohime Sama till at last he could see her 
no more, and the land of the Sea King and the roofs of the 

38 Japanese Fairy Book. 

wonderful palace were lost in the far, far distance. Then, with 
his face turned eagerly towards his own land, he looked for the 
rising of the blue hills on the horizon before him. 


At last the tortoise carried him into the bay he knew so 
well, and to the shore from whence he had set out. He stepped 
on to the shore and looked about him while the tortoise rode 
away back to the Sea King's realm. 

But what is the strange fear that seizes Urashima as he 
stands and looks about him ? Why does he gaze so fixedly at 
the people that pass him by, and why do they in turn stand 
and look at him ? The shore is the same and the hills are the 
same, but the people that he sees walking past him have very 
different faces to those he had known so well before. 

Wondering what it can mean he walks quickly towards his 
old home. Even that looks different, but a house stands on 
the spot, and he calls out : 

"Father, I have just returned!' and he was about to 
enter, when he saw a strange man coming out. 

" Perhaps my parents have moved while I have been away, 
and have gone somewhere else," was the fisherman's thought. 
Somehow he began to feel strangely anxious, he could not 
tell why. 

" Excuse me," said he to the man who was staring at him, 
" but till within the last few days I have lived in this house. 
My name is Urashima Taro. Where have my parents gone 
whom I left here ? " 

A very bewildered expression came over the face of the man, 
and, still gazing intently on Urashima's face, he said : 

" What ? Are you Urashima Taro ? " 

The Story of Urashima Taro, the Fisher Lad. 39 

" Yes," said the fisherman, " I am Urashima Taro ! " 

" Ha, ha ! " laughed the man, " you must not make such 
jokes. It is true that once upon a time a man called Urashima 
Taro did live in this village, but that is a story three hundred 
years old. He could not possibly be alive now ! ' 

When Urashima heard these strange words he was 
frightened, and said : 

" Please, please, you must not joke with me, for I am 
greatly perplexed. I am really Urashima Taro, and I certainly 
have not lived three hundred years. Till four or five days ago 
I lived on this spot. Tell me what I want to know without 
more joking, please." 

But the man's face grew more and more grave, and he 
answered : 

" You may or may not be Urashima Taro, I don't know. 
But the Urashima Taro of whom I have heard is a man who 
lived three hundred years ago. Perhaps you are his spirit 
come to re-visit your old home ? ' 

" Why do you mock me ? " said Urashima. " I am 
no spirit ! I am a living man do you not see my feet " ; 
and " don-don," he stamped on the ground, first with one 
foot and then with the other to show the man. (Japanese 
ghosts have no feet.) 

" But Urashima Taro lived three hundred years ago, that 
is all I know ; it is written in the village chronicles," persisted 
the man, who could not believe what the fisherman said. 

Urashima was lost in bewilderment and trouble. He 
stood looking all around him, terribly puzzled, and, indeed, 
something in the appearance of everything was different to 

4<D Japanese Fairy Book. 

what he remembered before he went away, and the awful 
feeling came over him that what the man said was perhaps 
true. He seemed to be in a strange dream. The few days he 

- *-'' ' 

L' /*'.' .' A-' 

rr /<- \\\ 

A beautiful little Purple Cloud rose out of the Box. 

had spent in the Sea King's palace beyond the sea had not 
been days at all ; they had been hundreds of years, and in that 
time his parents had died and all the people he had ever known, 
and the village had written down his story. There was no use 

The Story of Urashima Taro, the Fisher Lad. 41 

in staying here any longer. He must get back to his beautiful 
wife beyond the sea. 

He made his way back to the beach, carrying in his hand 
the box which the Princess had given him. But which was the 
way ? He could not find it alone ! Suddenly he remembered 
the box, the Tamate-Bako. 

11 The Princess told me when she gave me the box never 
to open it that it contained a very precious thing. But now 
that I have no home, now that I have lost everything that 
was dear to me here, and my heart grows thin with sadness, 
at such a time, if I open the box, surely I shall find some- 
thing that will help me, something that will show me the 
way back to my beautiful Princess over the sea. There is 
nothing else for me to do now. Yes, yes, I will open the 
box and look in ! ' 

And so his heart consented to this act of disobedience, and 
he tried to persuade himself that he was doing the right thing 
in breaking his promise. 

Slowly, very slowly, he untied the red silk cord, slowly and 
wonderingly he lifted the lid of the precious box. And what 
did he find ? Strange to say only a beautiful little purple cloud 
rose out of the box in three soft wisps. For an instant it 
covered his face and wavered over him as if loth to go, and 
then it floated away like vapour over the sea. 

Urashima, who had been till that moment like a strong 
and handsome youth of twenty-four, suddenly became very, 
very old. His back doubled up with age, his hair turned 
snowy white, his face wrinkled and he fell down dead on 
the beach. 

42 Japanese Fairy Book. 

Poor Urashima ! because of his disobedience he could never 
return to the Sea King's realm or the lovely Princess beyond 
the sea. 

Little children, never be disobedient to those who are wiser 
than you, for disobedience was the beginning of all the miseries 
and sorrows of life. 

( 43 ) 


LONG, long ago, there lived an old farmer and his wife who 
had made their home in the mountains, far from any town. 
Their only neighbour was a bad and malicious badger. This 
badger used to come out every night and run across to the 
farmer's field and spoil the vegetables and the rice which the 
farmer spent his time in carefully cultivating. The badger at 
last grew so ruthless in his mischievous work, and did so much 
harm everywhere on the farm, that the good-natured farmer 
could not stand it any longer, and determined to put a stop to 
it. So he lay in wait day after day and night after night, with a 
big club, hoping to catch the badger, but all in vain. Then he 
laid traps for the wicked animal. 

The farmer's trouble and patience was rewarded, for one 
fine day on going his rounds he found the badger caught in a 
hole he had dug for that purpose. The farmer was delighted 
at having caught his enemy, and carried him home securely 
bound with rope. When he reached the house the farmer said 
to his wife : 

" I have at last caught the bad badger. You must keep an 
eye on him while I am out at work and not let him escape, 
because I want to make him into soup to-night." 

Saying this, he hung the badger up to the rafters of his 
storehouse and went out to his work in the fields. The badger 


Japanese Fairy Book. 

: i 

' , 


' ' ' 

M : 


x ^5!^ . 

L'i . ^ ' 

The Farmer's Wife pounding Barley. 

The Farmer and the Badger. 45 

was in great distress, for he did not at all like the idea of being 
made into soup that night, and he thought and thought for a 
long time, trying to hit upon some plan by which he might 
escape. It was hard to think clearly in his uncomfortable 
position, for he had been hung upside down. Very near him, 
at the entrance to the storehouse, looking out towards the 
green fields and the trees and the pleasant sunshine, stood 
the farmer's old wife pounding barley. She looked tired and 
old. Her face was seamed with many wrinkles, and was as 
brown as leather, and every now and then she stopped to wipe 
the perspiration which rolled down her face. 

"Dear lady," said the wily badger, "you must be very 
weary doing such heavy work in your old age. Won't you let 
me do that for you ? My arms are very strong, and I could 
relieve you for a little while ! " 

11 Thank you for your kindness," said the old woman, " but 
I cannot let you do this work for me because I must not untie 
you, for you might escape if I did, and my husband would be 
very angry if he came home and found you gone." 

Now, the badger is one of the most cunning of animals, and 
he said again in a very sad, gentle, voice : 

" You are very unkind. You might untie me, for I promise 
not to try to escape. If you are afraid of your husband, I 
will let you bind me again before his return when I have 
finished pounding the barley. I am so tired and sore tied 
up like this. If you would only let me down for a few minutes 
I would indeed be thankful ! " 

The old woman had a good and simple nature, and could 
not think badly of anyone. Much less did she think that the 

46 Japanese Fairy Book. 

badger was only deceiving her in order to get away. She felt 
sorry, too, for the animal as she turned to look at him. He 
looked in such a sad plight hanging downwards from the ceiling 
by his legs, which were all tied together so tightly that the rope 
and the knots were cutting into the skin. So in the kindness 
of her heart, and believing the creature's promise that he would 
not run away, she untied the cord and let him down. 

The old woman then gave him the wooden pestle and told 
him to do the work for a short time while she rested. He took 
the pestle, but instead of doing the work as he was told, the 
badger at once sprang upon the old woman and knocked her 
down with the heavy piece of wood. He then killed her and 
cut her up and made soup of her, and waited for the return of the 
old farmer. The old man worked hard in his fields all day, 
and as he worked he thought with pleasure that no more now 
would his labour be spoiled by the destructive badger. 

Towards sunset he left his work and turned to go home. 
He was very tired, but the thought of the nice supper ot 
hot badger soup awaiting his return cheered him. The 
thought that the badger might get free and take revenge on 
the poor old woman never once came into his mind. 

The badger meanwhile assumed the old woman's form, and 
as soon as he saw the old farmer approaching came out to greet 
him on the verandah of the little house, saying : 

" So you have come back at last. I have made the badger 
soup and have been waiting for you for a long time." 

The old farmer quickly took off his straw sandals and sat 
down before his tiny dinner-tray. The innocent man never 
even dreamt that it was not his wife but the badger who was 

The Farmer and the Badger. 47 

waiting upon him, and asked at once for the soup. Then the 
badger suddenly transformed himself back to his natural form 
and cried out : 

" You wife-eating old man ! Look out for the bones in the 

kitchen ! " 

Laughing loudly and derisively he escaped out of the house 
and ran away to his den in the hills. The old man was left 
behind alone. He could hardly believe what he had seen and 
heard. Then when he understood the whole truth he was so 
scared and horrified that he fainted right away. After a while he 
came round and burst into tears. He cried loudly and bitterly. 
He rocked himself to and fro in his hopeless grief. It seemed 
too terrible to be real that his faithful old wife had been killed 
and cooked by the badger while he was working quietly in the 
fields, knowing nothing of what was going on at home, and 
congratulating himself on having once for all got rid of the 
wicked animal who had so often spoiled his fields. And oh ! 
the horrible thought; he had very nearly drunk the soup which 
the creature had made of his poor old woman. "Oh dear, oh 
dear, oh dear ! " he wailed aloud. Now, not far away there 
lived in the same mountain a kind, good-natured old rabbit. 
He heard the old man crying and sobbing and at once set out 
to see what was the matter, and if there was anything he could 
do to help his neighbour. The old man told him all that had 
happened. When the rabbit heard the story he was very angry 
at the wicked and deceitful badger, and told the old man to leave 
everything to him and he would avenge his wife's death. The 
farmer was at last comforted, and, wiping away his tears, thanked 
the rabbit for his goodness in coming to him in his distress. 

48 Japanese Fairy Book. 

The rabbit, seeing that the farmer was growing calmer, 
went back to his home to lay his plans for the punishment of 
the badger. 

The next day the weather was fine, and the rabbit went out 
to find the badger. He was not to be seen in the woods or on 
the hillside or in the fields anywhere, so the rabbit went to his 
den and found the badger hiding there, for the animal had been 
afraid to show himself ever since he had escaped from the 
farmer's house, for fear of the old man's wrath. 

The rabbit called out : 

" Why are you not out on such a beautiful day ? Come 
out with me, and we will go and cut grass on the hills 

The badger, never doubting but that the rabbit was his 
friend, willingly consented to go out with him, only too glad to 
get away from the neighbourhood of the farmer and the fear of 
meeting him. The rabbit led the way miles away from their 
homes, out on the hills where the grass grew tall and thick and 
sweet. They both set to work to cut down as much as they could 
carry home, to store it up for their winter's food. When they 
had each cut down all they wanted they tied it in bundles and 
then started homewards, each carrying his bundle of grass on 
his back. This time the rabbit made the badger go first. 

When they had gone a little way the rabbit took out a flint 
and steel, and, striking it over the badger's back as he stepped 
along in front, set his bundle of grass on fire. The badger 
heard the flint striking, and asked : 

" What is that noise, ' Crack, crack ' ? " 
Oh, that is nothing," replied the rabbit; "I only said 

i < 

The Farmer and the Badger. 


Set the Bundle of Grass on Fire. 


50 Japanese Fairy Book. 

' Crack, crack ' because this mountain is called Crackling 

The fire soon spread in the bundle of dry grass on the 
badger's back. The badger, hearing the crackle of the burning 
grass, asked " What is that ? " 

" Now we have come to the ' Burning Mountain,' 
answered the rabbit. 

By this time the bundle was nearly burnt out and all the 
hair had been burnt off the badger's back. He now knew what 
had happened by the smell of the smoke of the burning grass. 
Screaming with pain the badger ran as fast as he could to his 
hole. The rabbit followed and found him lying on his bed 
groaning with pain. 

"What an unlucky fellow you are! " said the rabbit. " I 
can't imagine how this happened ! I will bring you some 
medicine which will heal your back quickly ! ' 

The rabbit went away glad and smiling to think that the 
punishment upon the badger had already begun. He hoped 
that the badger would die of his burns, for he felt that nothing 
could be too bad for the animal, who was guilty of murdering 
a poor helpless old woman who had trusted him. He went 
home and made an ointment by mixing some sauce and red 
pepper together. 

He carried this to the badger, but before putting it on he told 
him that it would cause him great pain, but that he must bear 
it patiently, because it was a very wonderful medicine for burns 
and scalds and such wounds. The badger thanked him and 
begged him to apply it at once. But no language can describe 
the agony of the badger as soon as the red pepper had been 

The Farmer and the Badger. 51 

pasted all over his sore back. He rolled over and over and 
howled loudly. The rabbit, looking on, felt that the farmer's 
wife was beginning to be avenged. 

The badger was in bed for about a month ; but at last, in 
spite of the red pepper application, his burns healed and he 
got well. When the rabbit saw that the badger was getting 
well, he thought of another plan by which he could compass 
the creature's death. So he went one day to pay the badger 
a visit and to congratulate him on his recovery. 

During the conversation the rabbit mentioned that he was 
going fishing, and described how pleasant fishing was when the 
weather was fine and the sea smooth. 

The badger listened with pleasure to the rabbit's account 
of the way he passed his time now, and forgot all his pains and 
his month's illness, and thought what fun it would be if he 
could go fishing too; so he asked the rabbit if he would take 
him the next time he went out to fish. This was just what the 
rabbit wanted, so he agreed. 

Then he went home and built two boats, one of wood and 
the other of clay. At last they were both finished, and as the 
rabbit stood and looked at his work he felt that all his trouble 
would be well rewarded if his plan succeeded, and he could 
manage to kill the wicked badger now. 

The day came when the rabbit had arranged to take the 
badger fishing. He kept the wooden boat himself and gave 
the badger the clay boat. The badger, who knew nothing 
about boats, was delighted with his new boat and thought how 
kind it was of the rabbit to give it to him. They both got into 
their boats and set out. After going some distance from the 

E 2 

Japanese Fairy Rook. 

shore the rabbit proposed that they should try their boats and 
see which one could go the quickest. The badger fell in with 
the proposal, and they both set to work to row as fast as they 

He raised his Oar and Struck at the Badger with all his Strength. 

could for some time. In the middle 01 the race the badger 
found his boat going to pieces, for the water now began to 
soften the clay. He cried out in great fear to the rabbit to 

The Farmer and the Badger. 53 

help him. But the rabbit answered that he was avenging the 
old woman's murder, and that this had been his intention all 
along, and that he was happy to think that the badger had 
at last met his deserts for all his evil crimes, and was to 
drown with no one to help him. Then he raised his oar and 
struck at the badger with all his strength till he fell with the 
sinking clay boat and was- seen no more. 

Thus at last he kept his promise to the old farmer. The 
raobit now turned and rowed shorewards, and having landed 
and pulled his boat upon the beach, hurried back to tell the old 
farmer everything, and how the badger, his enemy, had been 

The old farmer thanked him with tears in his eyes. He 
said that till now he could never sleep at night or be at peace 
in the daytime, thinking of how his wife's death was unavenged, 
but from this time he would be able to sleep and eat as of 
old. He begged the rabbit to stay with him and share his 
home, so from this day the rabbit went to stay with the old 
farmer and they both lived together as good friends to the end 
of their days. 

( 54 ) 



THE compass, with its needle always pointing to the North, 
is quite a common thing, and no one thinks that it is remark- 
able now, though when it was first invented it must have been 
a wonder. 

Now long ago in China, there was a still more wonderful 
invention called the Shinansha. This was a kind of chariot 
with the figure of a man on it always pointing to the South. 
No matter how the chariot was placed the figure always wheeled 
about and pointed to the South. 

This curious instrument was invented by Kotei, one of the 
three Chinese Emperors of the mythological age. Kotei was the 
son of the Emperor Yuhi. Before he was born his mother had 
a vision which foretold that her son would be a great man. 

One summer evening she went out to walk in the meadows 
to seek the cool breezes which blow at the end of the day and 
to gaze with pleasure at the star-lit heavens above her. As she 
looked at the North Star, strange to relate, it shot forth vivid 
flashes of lightning in every direction. Soon after this her son 
Kotei came into the world. 

Kotei in time grew to manhood and succeeded his father 
the Emperor Yuhi. His early reign was greatly troubled by 
the rebel Shiyu. This rebel wanted to make himself King, and 

The Shinansha, or the South Pointing Carriage. 55 

many were the battles which he fought to this end. Shiyu 
was a wicked magician, his head was made of iron, and there 
was no man that could conquer him. 

At last Kotei declared war against the rebel and led his 
army to battle, and the two armies met on a plain called 

He Thought and Pondered Deeply. 

Takuroku. The Emperor boldly attacked the enemy, but the 
magician brought down a dense fog upon the battlefield, and 
while the royal army were wandering about in confusion, 
trying to find their way, Shiyu retreated with his troops, laughing 
at having fooled the royal army. 

No matter however strong and brave the Emperor's 

56 Japanese Fairy Book. 

soldiers were, the rebel with his magic could always escape 
in the end. 

Kotei returned to his Palace, and thought and pondered 
deeply as to how he should conquer the magician, for he was 
determined not to give up yet. After a long time he invented 
the Shinansha with the figure of a man always pointing South, 
for there were no compasses in those days. With this 
instrument to show him the way he need not fear the dense 
fogs raised up by the magician to confound his men. 

Kotei again declared war against Shiyu. He placed the 
Shinansha in front of his army and led the way to the battlefield. 

The battle began in earnest. The rebel was being driven 
backward by the royal troops when he again resorted to magic, 
and upon his saying some strange words in a loud voice, 
immediately a dense fog came down upon the battlefield. 

But this time no soldier minded the fog, not one was 
confused. Kotei by pointing to the Shinansha could find his 
way and directed the army without a single mistake. He 
closely pursued the rebel army and drove them backward till 


they came to a big river. This river Kotei and his men found 
was swollen by the floods and impossible to cross. 

Shiyu by using his magic art quickly passed over with his 
army and shut himself up in a fortress on the opposite bank. 

When Kotei found his march checked he was wild with 
disappointment, for he had very nearly overtaken the rebel when 
the river stopped him. 

He could do nothing, for there were no boats in those days, 
so the Emperor ordered his tent to be pitched in thepleasantest 
spot that the place afforded. 

The Shinansha, or the South Pointing Carriage. 57 

One day he stepped forth from his tent and after walking 
about for a short time he came to a pond. Here he sat 
down on the bank and was lost in thought. 

It was autumn. The trees growing along the edge of the 
water were shedding their leaves, which floated hither and 
thither on the surface of the pond. By-and-bye, Kotei's 
attention was attracted to a spider on the brink of the 
water. The little insect was trying to get on to one of the 
floating leaves near by. It did so at last, and was soon 
floating over the water to the other side of the pond. 

This little incident made the clever Emperor think that he 
might try to make something that could carry himself and his 
men over the river in the same way that the leaf had carried 
over the spider. He set to work and persevered till he invented 
the first boat. When he found that it was a success he set all 
his men to make more, and in time there were enough boats 
for the whole army. 

Kotei now took his army across the river, and attacked 
Shiyu's headquarters. He gained a complete victory, and so 
put an end to the war which had troubled his country for 
so long. 

This wise and good Emperor did not rest till he had 
secured peace and prosperity throughout his whole land. He 
was beloved by his subjects, who now enjoyed their happiness 
of peace for many long years under him. He spent a great 
deal of time in making inventions which would benefit his 
people, and he succeeded in many besides the boat and the 
South Pointing Shinansha. 

He had reigned about a hundred years when one day, as 

Japanese Fairy Book. 

Kotei was looking upwards, the sky became suddenly red, and 
something came glittering like gold towards the earth. As it 
came nearer Kotei saw that it was a great Dragon. The Dragon 
approached and bowed down its head before the Emperor. 

He Mounted the Dragon. 

The Empress and the courtiers were so frightened that they 
ran away screaming. 

But the Emperor only smiled and called to them to stop, 
and said : 

11 Do not be afraid. This is a messenger from Heaven. 
My time here is finished!" He then mounted the Dragon, 
which began to ascend towards the sky. 

The Shinansha, or the South Pointing Carnage. 59 

When the Empress and the courtiers saw this they all cried 
out together : 

"Wait a moment! We wish to come too." And they 
all ran and caught hold of the Dragon's beard and tried to 
mount him. 

But it was impossible for so many people to ride on the 
Dragon. Several of them hung on to the creature's beard so 
that when it tried to mount the hair was pulled out and they 
fell to the ground. 

Meanwhile the Empress and a few of the courtiers were 
safely seated on the Dragon's back. The Dragon flew up so 
high in the heavens that in a short time the inmates of the 
Palace, who had been left behind disappointed, could see them 
no more. 

After some time a bow and an arrow dropped to the earth 
in the courtyard of the Palace. They were recognised as 
having belonged to the Emperor Kotei. The courtiers took 
them up carefully and preserved them as sacred relics in the 




LONG, long ago there lived in Kyoto a brave soldier named 
Kintoki. Now he fell in love with a beautiful lady and married 
her. Not long after this, through the malice of some of his 
friends, he fell into disgrace at Court and was dismissed. This 
misfortune so preyed upon his mind that he did not long 
survive his dismissal he died, leaving behind him his beauti- 
ful young wife to face the world alone. Fearing her husband's 
enemies, she fled to the Ashigara Mountains as soon as her 
husband was dead, and there in the lonely forests where no 
one ever came except woodcutters, a little boy was born to 
her. She called him Kintaro or the Golden Boy. Now the 
remarkable thing about this child was his great strength, and 
as he grew older he grew stronger and stronger, so that by the 
time he was eight years of age he was able to cut down trees 
as quickly as the woodcutters. Then his mother gave him a 
large axe, and he used to go out in the forest and help the 
woodcutters, who called him " Wonder-child, 'land his mother 
the " Old Nurse of the Mountains," for they did not know her 
high rank. Another favourite pastime of Kintaro's was to smash 
up rocks and stones. You can imagine how strong he was ! 

Quite unlike other boys, Kintaro grew up all alone in the 
mountain wilds, and as he had no companions he made friends 

The Adventures of Kintaro, the Golden Boy. 61 

with all the animals and learned to understand them and to 
speak their strange talk. By degrees they all grew quite tame 
and looked upon Kintaro as their master, and he used them as 
his servants and messengers. But his special retainers were 
the bear, the deer, the monkey and the hare. 

The bear often brought her cubs for Kintaro to romp with, 
and when she came to take them home Kintaro would get on 
her back and have a ride to her cave. He was very fond of 
the deer too, and would often put his arms round the creature's 
neck to show that its long horns did not frighten him. Great 
was the fun they all had together. 

One day, as usual, Kintaro went up into the mountains, 
followed by the bear, the deer, the monkey, and the hare. 
After walking for some time up hill and down dale and over 
rough roads, they suddenly came out upon a wide and grassy 
plain covered with pretty wild flowers. 

Here, indeed, was a nice place where they could all have a 
good romp together. The deer rubbed his horns against a 
tree for pleasure, the monkey scratched his back, the hare 
smoothed his long ears, and the bear gave a grunt of 

Kintaro said, " Here is a place for a good game. What 
do you all say to a wrestling match ? " 

The bear being the biggest and the oldest, answered for 
the others : 

" That will be great fun," said she. " I am the strongest 
animal, so I will make the platform for the wrestlers "; and she 
set to work with a will to dig up the earth and to pat it into 


Japanese Fairy Book. 

" All ri^ht," said Kintaro, " I will look on while you all 
wrestle with each other. I shall give a prize to the one who 
wins in each round." 


*^i*/ ; ^e|P?P*' >- ^;^--.-^-V-\ & 

i A 

Then the Monkey and the Hare hopped out 

"What fun! we shall all try to get the prize," said the 

The deer, the monkey and the hare set to work to help the 
bear raise the platform on which they were all to wrestle. 
When this was finished, Kintaro cried out : 

The Adventures of Kintaro, the Golden Boy. 63 

" Now begin ! the monkey and the hare shall open the 
sports and the deer shall be umpire. Now, Mr. Deer, you are 
to be umpire ! " 

" He, he ! " answered the deer. " I will be umpire. Now, 
Mr. Monkey and Mr. Hare, if you are both ready, please walk 
out and take your places on the platform." 

Then the monkey and the hare both hopped out, quickly 
and nimbly, to the wrestling platform. The deer, as umpire, 
stood between the two and called out : 

" Red-back ! Red-back ! " (this to the monkey, who has a 
red back in Japan). " Are you ready ? " 

Then he turned to the hare : 

" Long-ears ! Long-ears ! are you ready ?" 

Both the little wrestlers faced each other while the deer raised 
a leaf on high as signal. When he dropped the leaf the monkey 
and the hare rushed upon each other, crying "Yoisho, yoisho ! " 

While the monkey and the hare wrestled, the deer called 
out encouragingly or shouted warnings to each of them as 
the hare or the monkey pushed each other near the edge of 
the platform and were in danger of falling over. 

"Red-back! Red-back! stand your ground!" called out 
the deer. 

"Long-ears! Long-ears! be strong, be strong don't let 
the monkey beat you ! " grunted the bear. 

So the monkey and the hare, encouraged by their friends, tried 
their very hardest to beat each other. The hare at last gained on 
the monkey. The monkey seemed to trip up, and the hare giving 
him a good push sent him flying off the platform with a bound. 

The poor monkey sat up rubbing his back, and his face 

64 Japanese Fairy Book. 

was very long as he screamed angrily, u Oh, oh ! how my back 
hurts my back hurts me ! ' 

" Seeing the monkey in this plight on the ground, the deer 
holding his leaf on high said : 

"This round is finished the hare has won." 

Kintaro then opened his luncheon box and taking out a 
rice-dumpling, gave it to the hare saying : 

" Here is your prize, and you have earned it well ! ' 

Now the monkey got up looking very cross, and as they 
say in Japan " his stomach stood up," for he felt that he had 
not been fairly beaten. So he said to Kintaro and the others 
who were standing by : 

" I have not been fairly beaten. My foot slipped and I 
tumbled. Please give me another chance and let the hare 
wrestle with me for another round." 

Then Kintaro consenting, the hare and the monkey began 
to wrestle again. Now, as everyone knows, the monkey is a 
cunning animal by nature, and he made up his mind to get the 
best of the hare this time if it were possible. To do this, he 
thought that the best and surest way would be to get hold of 
the hare's long ear. This he soon managed to do. The hare 
was quite thrown off his guard by the pain of having his long 
ear pulled so hard, and the monkey seizing his opportunity at 
last, caught hold of one of the hare's legs and sent him 
sprawling in the middle of the dais. The monkey was now 
the victor and received a rice-dumpling from Kintaro, which 
pleased him so much that he quite forgot his sore back. 

The deer now came up and asked the hare if he felt ready 
for another round, and if so whether he would try a round with 

The Adventures of Kintaro, the Golden Boy. 65 

him, and the hare consenting, they both stood up to wrestle. 
The bear came forward as umpire. 

The deer with long horns and the hare with long ears, it 
must have been an amusing sight to those who watched this 
queer match. Suddenly the deer went down on one of his 
knees, and the bear with the leaf on high declared him beaten. 
In this way, sometimes the one, sometimes the other, conquering, 
the little party amused themselves till they were tired. 

At last Kintaro got up and said : 

" This is enough for to-day. What a nice place we have 
found for wrestling ; let us come again to-morrow. Now, we 
will all go home. Come along ! ' So saying, Kintaro led the 
way while the animals followed. 

After walking some little distance they came out on the 
banks of a river flowing through a valley. Kintaro and his 
four furry friends stood and looked about for some means of 
crossing. Bridge there was none. The river rushed "don, 
don " on its way. All the animals looked serious, wondering 
how they could cross the stream and get home that evening. 

Kintaro, however, said : 

" Wait a moment. I will make a good bridge for you all 
in a few minutes." 

The bear, the deer, the monkey and the hare looked at him 
to see what he would do now. 

Kintaro went from one tree to another that grew along the 
river bank. At last he stopped in front of a very large tree 
that was growing at the water's edge. He took hold of the 
trunk and pulled it with all his might, once, twice, thrice ! At 
the third pull, so great was Kintaro's strength that the roots 
F.B. F 

66 Japanese Fairy Book. 

gave way, and " men, men ' (crash, crash), over fell the 
tree, forming an excellent bridge across the stream. 

" There," said Kintaro, " what do you think of my bridge ? 
It is quite safe, so follow me," and he stepped across first. The 
four animals followed. Never had they seen anyone so strong 
before, and they all exclaimed : 

" How strong he is ! how strong he is ! ' 

While all this was going on by the river a woodcutter, who 
happened to be standing on a rock overlooking the stream, 
had seen all that passed beneath him. He watched with great 
surprise Kintaro and his animal companions. He rubbed his 
eyes to be sure that he was not dreaming when he saw this 
boy pull over a tree by the roots and throw it across the stream 
to form a bridge. 

The woodcutter, for such he seemed to be by his dress, 
marvelled at all he saw, and said to himself: 

" This is no ordinary child. Whose son can he be ? I will 
find out before this day is done." 

He hastened after the strange party and crossed the bridge 
behind them. Kintaro knew nothing of all this, and little 
guessed that he was being followed. On reaching the other 
side of the river he and the animals separated, they to their lairs 
in the woods and he to his mother, who was waiting for him. 

As soon as he entered the cottasre, which stood like a 

V ' ' 

matchbox in the heart of the pine-woods, he went to greet 
his mother, saying : 

" Okkasan (mother), here I am ! ' 

" 0, Kimbo!" said his mother with a bright smile, glad to 
see her boy home safe after the long day. " How late you are 

The Adventures of Kintaro, the Golden Boy. 67 

to-day. I feared that something had happened to you. Where 
have you been all the time ? " 

" I took my four friends, the bear, the deer, the monkey, 
and the hare, up into the hills, and there I made them try a 
wrestling match, to see which was the strongest. We all 
enjoyed the sport, and are going to the same place to-morrow 
to have another match." 

" Now tell me who is the strongest of all ? " asked his 
mother, pretending not to know. 

" Oh, mother," said Kintaro, " don't you know that I am 
the strongest ? There was no need for me to wrestle with any 
of them." 

" But next to you then, who is the strongest ? " 

" The bear comes next to me in strength," answered 

" And after the bear ? " asked his mother again. 

" Next to the bear it is not easy to say which is the 
strongest, for the deer, the monkey, and the hare all seem 
to be as strong as each other," said Kintaro. 

Suddenly Kintaro and his mother were startled by a voice 
from outside. 

" Listen to me, little boy ! Next time you go, take this old 
man with you to the wrestling match. He would like to join 
the sport too ! " 

It was the old woodcutter who had followed Kintaro from 
the river. He slipped off his clogs and entered the cottage. 
Yama-uba and her son were both taken by surprise. They 
looked at the intruder wonderingly, and saw that he was 
someone they had never seen before. 

F 2 

68 Japanese Fairy Book. 

"Who arc you ? ' they both exclaimed. 

Then the woodcutter laughed and said : 

" It does not matter who I am yet, hut let us see who has 
the strongest arm this boy or myself? " 

Then Kintaro, who had lived all his life in the forest, 
answered the old man without any ceremony, saying : 

"We will have a try if you wish it, but you must not be 
angry whoever is beaten." 

Then Kintaro and the woodcutter both put out their right 
arms and grasped each other's hands. For a longtime Kintaro 
and the old man wrestled together in this way, each trying 
to bend the other's arm, but the old man was very strong, and 
the strange pair were evenly matched. At last the old man 
desisted, declaring it a drawn game. 

" You are, indeed, a very strong child. There are few 
men who can boast of the strength of my right arm ! " said the 
woodcutter. " I saw you first on the banks of the river a few 
hours ago, \vhen you pulled up that large tree to make a bridge 
across the torrent. Hardly able to believe what I saw I 
followed you home. Your strength of arm, which I have just 
tried, proves what I saw this afternoon. When you are full- 
grown you will surely be the strongest man in all Japan. It is 
a pity that you are hidden away in these wild mountains." 

Then he turned to Kintaro's mother : 

"And you, mother, have you no thought of taking your 
child to the Capital, and of teaching him to carry a sword as 
befits a samurai (a Japanese knight) ? " 

" You are very kind to take so much interest in my son," 
replied the mother; "but he is as you see, wild and uneducated, 

The Adventures of Kintaro, the Golden Boy. 69 

and I fear it would be very difficult to do as you say. Because 
of his great strength as an infant I hid him away in this 
unknown part of the country, for he hurt everyone that came 

The Kind General gradually unfolded his Plan. 

near him. I have often wished that I could, one day, see my 
boy a knight wearing two swords, but as we have no influential 
friend to introduce us at the Capital, I fear my hope will never 
come true." 

" You need not trouble yourself about that. To tell you 

yo Japanese Fairy Book. 

the truth I am no woodcutter ! I am one of the great generals 
of Japan. My name is Sadamitsu, and I am a vassal of the 
powerful Lord Minamoto-no-Raiko. He ordered me to go 
round the country and look for boys who give promise of 
remarkable strength, so that they may be trained as soldiers 
for his armv. I thought that I could best do this by assuming 

^ O J o 

the disguise of a woodcutter. Bv good fortune, I have thus 
unexpectedly come across your son. Now if you really wish 
him to be a samurai (a knight), I will take him and present him 
to the Lord Raiko as a candidate for his service. What do 
you say to this ? ' 

As the kind general gradually unfolded his plan the mother's 
heart was filled with a great joy. She saw that here was a 
wonderful chance of the one wish of her life being fulfilled 
that of seeing Kintaro a samurai before she died. 

Bowing her head to the ground, she replied : 

" I will then entrust my son to you if you really mean what 
you say." 

Kintaro had all this time been sitting by his mother's side 
listening to what was said. When his mother finished speaking, 
he exclaimed : 

" Oh, joy! joy! I am to go with the general and one day 
I shall be a samurai! " 

Thus Kintaro's fate was settled, and the general decided 
to start for the Capital at once, taking Kintaro with him. It 
need hardly be said that Yama-uba was sad at parting with her 
boy, for he was all that was left to her. But she hid her grief 
with a strong face, as they say in Japan. She knew that it was 
for her boy's good that he should leave her now, and she 

The Adventures of Kintaro, the Golden Boy. 71 

must not discourage him just as he was setting out. Kintaro 
promised never to forget her, and said that as soon as he was 
a knight wearing two swords he would build her a home and 
take care of her in her old age. 

All the animals, those he had tamed to serve him, the bear, 
the deer, the monkey, and the hare, as soon as they found out 
that he was going away, came to ask if they might attend him 
as usual. When they learned that he was going away for good 
they followed him to the foot of the mountain to see him off. 

" Kimbo," said his mother, " mind and be a good boy." 

" Mr. Kintaro," said the faithful animals, " we wish you 
good health on your travels." 

Then they all climbed a tree to see the last of him, and 
from that height they watched him and his shadow gradually 
grow smaller and smaller, till he was lost to sight. 

The general Sadamitsu went on his way rejoicing at having 
so unexpectedly found such a prodigy as Kintaro. 

Having arrived at their destination the general took 
Kintaro at once to his Lord, Minamoto-no-Raiko, and told 
him all about Kintaro and how he had found the child. Lord 
Raiko was delighted with the story, and having commanded 
Kintaro to be brought to him, made him one of his vassals at 

Lord Raiko's army was famous for its band called " The 
Four Braves." These warriors were chosen by himself from 
amongst the bravest and strongest of his soldiers, and the 
small and well-picked band was distinguished throughout the 
whole of Japan for the dauntless courage of its men. 

When Kintaro grew up to be a man his master made him 

72 Japanese Fairy 

the Chief of the Four Braves. He was by far the strongest of 
them all. Soon after this event, news was brought to the city 
that a cannibal monster had taken up his abode not far away 

Lord Raiko ordered Kintaro to the Rescue. 

and that people were stricken with fear. Lord Raiko ordered 
Kintaro to the rescue. He immediately started off, delighted 
at the prospect of trying his sword. 

Surprising the monster in its den, he made short work 

The Adventures of Kintaro, the Golden Boy. 73 

of cutting off its great head, which he carried back in triumph 
to his master. 

Kintaro now rose to be the greatest hero of his country, 
and great was the power and honour and wealth that came to 
him. He now kept his promise and built a comfortable home 
for his old mother, who lived happily with him in the Capital to 
the end of her days. 

Is not this the story of a great hero ? 

( 74 ) 


MANY, many years ago there lived in Nara, the ancient 
Capital of Japan, a wise State minister, by name Prince 
Toyonari Fujiwara. His wife was a noble, good, and beauti- 
ful woman called Princess Murasaki (Violet). They had been 
married by their respective families according to Japanese 
custom when very young, and had lived together happily ever 
since. They had, however, one cause for great sorrow, for as 
the years went by no child was born to them. This made them 
very unhappy, for they both longed to see a child of their own 
who would grow up to gladden their old age, carry on the family 
name, and keep up the ancestral rites when they were dead. 
The Prince and his lovely wife, after long consultation and 
much thought, determined to make a pilgrimage to the temple 
of Hase-no-Kwannon (Goddess of Mercy at Hase), for they 
believed, according to the beautiful tradition of their religion, 
that the Mother of Mercy, Kwannon, comes to answer the 
prayers of mortals in the form that they need the most. 
Surely after all these years of prayer she would come to them 
in the form of a beloved child in answer to their special pil- 
grimage, for that was the greatest need of their two lives. 
Everything else they had that this life could give them, but 

The Story of Princess Hase. 75 

it was all as nothing because the cry of their hearts was 

So the Prince Toyonari and his wife went to the temple of 
Kwannon at Hase and stayed there for a long time, both daily 
offering incense and praying to Kwannon, the Heavenly Mother, 
to grant them the desire of their whole lives. And their prayer 
was answered. 

A daughter was born at last to the Princess Murasaki, 
and great was the joy of her heart. On presenting the child 
to her husband they both decided to call her Hase-Hime, or 
the Princess of Hase, because she was the gift of the Kwannon 
at that place. They both reared her with great care and 
tenderness, and the child grew in strength and beauty. 

When the little girl was five years old her mother fell 
dangerously ill and all the doctors and their medicines could 
not save her. A little before she breathed her last she called 
her daughter to her, and gently stroking her head, said : 

" Hase-Hime, do you know that your mother cannot live 
any longer ? Though I die, you must grow up a good girl. 
Do your best not to give trouble to your nurse or any other ot 
your family. Perhaps your father will marry again and some- 
one will fill my place as your mother. If so do not grieve 
for me, but look upon your father's second wife as your true 
mother, and be obedient and filial to both her and your father. 
Remember when you are grown up to be submissive to those 
who are your superiors, and to be kind to all those who are 
under you. Don't forget this. I die with the hope that you 
will grow up a model woman." 

Hase-Hime listened in an attitude of respect while her 

y6 Japanese Fairy r>ok. 

mother spoke, and promised to do all that she wris tola. 
There is a proverb which says " As the soul is at three so it 
is at one hundred," and so Hase-Hime grew up as her mother 
had wished, a good and obedient little Princess, though she was 
now too young to understand how great was the loss of her 

Not long after the death of his first wife, Prince Toyonari 

Hase-Hime listened in an Attitude of Respect. 

married again, a lady of noble birth named Princess Terute. 
Very different in character, alas ! to the good and wise Princess 
Murasaki, this woman had a cruel, bad heart. She did not love 
her step-daughter at all, and was often very unkind to the little 
motherless girl, saying to herself: 

" This is not my child ! this is not my child ! ' 
But Hase-Hime bore every unkindness with patience, and 
even waited upon her step-mother kindly and obeyed her in 

The Story of Princess Hase. 77 

every way and never gave any trouble, just as she had been 
trained by her own good mother, so that the Lady Terute had 
no cause for complaint against her. 

The little Princess was very diligent, and her favourite 
studies were music and poetry. She would spend several hours 
practising every day, and her father had the most proficient ol 
masters he could find to teach her the koto (Japanese harp), 
the art of writing letters and verse. When she was twelve 
years of age she could play so beautifully that she and her 
step-mother were summoned to the Palace to perform before 
the Emperor. 

It was the Festival of the Cherry Flowers, and there were 
great festivities at the Court. The Emperor threw himself 
into the enjoyment of the season, and commanded that Princess 
Hase should perform before him on the koto, and that her 
mother Princess Terute should accompany her on the flute. 

The Emperor sat on a raised da'is, before which was hung a 
curtain of finely-sliced bamboo and purple tassels, so that His 
Majesty might see all and not be seen, for no ordinary subject 
was allowed to look upon his sacred face. 

Hase-Hime was a skilled musician though so young, and 
often astonished her masters by her wonderful memory and 
talent. On this momentous occasion she played well. But 
Princess Terute, her step-mother, who was a lazy woman and 
never took the trouble to practise daily, broke down in her 
accompaniment and had to request one of the Court ladies to 
take her place. This was a great disgrace, and she was 
furiously jealous to think that she had failed where her step- 
daughter succeeded ; and to make matters worse the Emperor 

jS Japanese Fairy Book. 

sent many beautiful gifts to the little Princess to reward her 
for playing so well at the Palace. 

There was also now another reason why Princess Terute 
hated her step-daughter, for she had had the good fortune to 
have a son born to her, and in her inmost heart she kept saying: 

" If only Hase-Hime were not here, my son would have all 
the love of his father." 

And never having learned to control herself, she allowed 
this wicked thought to grow into the awful desire of takin" 1 


her step-daughter's life. 

So one day she secretly ordered some poison and poisoned 
some sweet wine. This poisoned wine she put into a bottle. 
Into another similar bottle she poured some good wine. It 
was the occasion of the Boys' Festival on the fifth of May, 
and Hase-Hime was playing with her little brother. All his toys 
of warriors and heroes were spread out and she was telling him 
wonderful stories about each of them. They were both enjoying 
themselves and laughing merrily with their attendants when 
his mother entered with the two bottles of wine and some 
delicious cakes. 

" You are both so good and happy," said the wicked 
Princess Terute with a smile, "that I have brought you some 
sweet wine as a reward and here are some nice cakes for my 
good children." 

And she filled two cups from the different bottles. 

Hase-Hime, never dreaming of the dreadful part her step- 
mother was acting, took one of the cups of wine and gave to 
her little step-brother the other that had been poured out 
for him. 

The Story of Princess Hase. 79 

The wicked woman had carefully marked the poisoned 
bottle, but on coming into the room she had grown nervous, 
and pouring out the wine hurriedly had unconsciously given 
the poisoned cup to her own child. All this time she was 
anxiously watching the little Princess, but to her amazement 
no change whatever took place in the young girl's face. 
Suddenly the little boy screamed and threw himself on the 
floor, doubled up with pain. His mother flew to him, taking 
the precaution to upset the two tiny jars of wine which she had 
brought into the room, and lifted him up. The attendants rushed 
for the doctor, but nothing could save the child he died within 
the hour in his mother's arms. Doctors did not know much 
in those ancient times, and it was thought that the wine had 
disagreed with the boy, causing convulsions of which he died. 

Thus was the wicked woman punished in losing her own 
child when she had tried to do away with her step-daughter ; 
but instead of blaming herself she began to hate Hase-Hime 
more than ever in the bitterness and wretchedness of her own 
heart, and she eagerly watched for an opportunity to do her 
harm, which was, nowever, long in coming. 

When Hase-Hime was thirteen years of age, she had already 
become mentioned as a poetess of some merit. This was an 
accomplishment very much cultivated by the women of old 
Japan and one held in high esteem. 

It was the rainy season at Nara, and floods were reported 
every day as doing damage in the neighbourhood. The river 
Tatsuta, which flowed through the Imperial Palace grounds, 
was swollen to the top of its banks, and the roaring of the 
torrents ot water rushing along a narrow bed so disturbed the 

8o Japanese Fairy Book. 

Emperor's rest day and night, that a serious nervous disorder 
was the result. An Imperial Edict was sent forth to all the 
Buddhist temples commanding the priests to offer up continuous 
prayers to Heaven to stop the noise of the flood. But this was 
of no avail. 

Then it was whispered in Court circles that the Princess 
Hase, the daughter of Prince Toyonari Fujiwara, second 
minister at Court, was the most gifted poetess of the day, though 
still so young, and her masters confirmed the report. Long 
ago, a beautiful and gifted maiden-poetess had moved Heaven 
by praying in verse, had brought down rain upon a land 
famished with drought so said the ancient biographers of the 
poetess Ono-no-Komachi. If the Princess Hase were to write 
a poem and offer it in prayer, might it not stop the noise of the 
rushing river and remove the cause of the Imperial illness ? 
What the Court said at last reached the ears of the Emperor 
himself, and he sent an order to the minister Prince Toyonari 
to this effect. 

Great indeed was Hase-Hime's fear and astonishment when 
her father sent for her and told her what was required of her. 
Heavy, indeed, was the duty that was laid on her young 
shoulders that of saving the Emperor's life by the merit of 
her verse. 

At last the day came and her poem was finished. It was 
written on a leaflet of paper heavily flecked with gold-dust. 
With her father and attendants and some of the Court officials, 
she proceeded to the bank of the roaring torrent and raising up 
her heart to Heaven, she read the poem she had composed, 
aloud, lifting it heavenwards in her two hands. 

The Story of Princess Hase. 


Strange indeed it seemed to all those standing round. The 
waters ceased their roaring, and the river was quiet in direct 
answer to her prayer. After this the Emperor soon recovered 
his health. 

His Majesty was highly pleased, and sent for her to the 

Her Father sent for her, and told her what was Required of her. 

Palace and rewarded her with the rank of Chin jo that of 
Lieutenant-General to distinguish her. From that time she 
was called Chinjo-hime, or the Lieutenant-General Princess, 
and respected and loved by all. 

There was only one person who was not pleased at 



82 Japanese Fairy Book. 

Hase-Hime's success. That one was her step-mother. Forever 
brooding over the death of her own child whom she had killed 
when trying to poison her step-daughter, she had the morti- 
fication of seeing her rise to power and honour, marked by 
Imperial favour and the admiration of the whole Court. Her 
envy and jealousy burned in her heart like fire. Many were 
the lies she carried to her husband about Hase-Hime, but all to 
no purpose. He would listen to none of her tales, telling her 
sharply that she was quite mistaken. 

At last the step-mother, seizing the opportunity of her 
husband's absence, ordered one of her old servants to take 
the innocent girl to the Hibari Mountains, the wildest part ot 
the country, and to kill her there. She invented a dreadful 
story about the little Princess, saying that this was the only 
way to prevent disgrace falling upon the family by killing her. 

Katoda, her vassal, was bound to obey his mistress. 
Anyhow, he saw that it would be the wisest plan to pretend 
obedience in the absence of the girl's father, so he placed 
Hase-Hime in a palanquin and accompanied her to the most 
solitary place he could find in the wild district. The poor 
child knew there was no good in protesting to her unkind step- 
mother at being sent away in this strange manner, so she 
went as she was told. 

But the old servant knew that the young Princess was quite 
innocent of all the things her step-mother had invented to him 
as reasons for her outrageous orders, and he determined to 
save her life. Unless he killed her, however, he could not 
return to his cruel task-mistress, so he decided to stay out in 
the wilderness. With the help of some peasants he soon built 

The Story of Princess Hase. 83 

a little cottage, and having sent secretly for his wife to come, 
these two good old people did all in their power to take care 
of the now unfortunate Princess. She all the time trusted in 
her father, knowing that as soon as he returned home and 
found her absent, he would search for her. 

Prince Toyonari, after some weeks, came home, and was 
told by his wife that his daughter Hase-Hime had done some- 
thing wrong and had run away for fear of being punished. 
He was nearly ill with anxiety. Everyone in the house told 
the same story that Hase-Hime had suddenly disappeared, 
none of them knew why or whither. For fear of scandal he kept 
the matter quiet and searched everywhere he could think of, 
but all to no purpose. 

One day, trying to forget his terrible worry, he called all 
his men together and told them to make ready for a several 
days' hunt in the mountains. They were soon ready and 
mounted, waiting at the gate for their lord. He rode hard and 
fast to the district of the Hibari Mountains, a great company 
following him. He was soon far ahead of everyone, and at 
last found himself in a narrow picturesque valley. 

Looking round and admiring the scenery, he noticed a tiny 
house on one of the hills quite near, and then he distinctly 
heard a beautiful clear voice reading aloud. Seized with 
curiosity as to who could be studying so diligently in such a 
lonely spot, he dismounted, and leaving his horse to his 
groom, he walked up the hillside and approached the cottage. 
As he drew nearer his surprise increased, for he could see 
that the reader was a beautiful girl. The cottage was 
wide open and she was sitting facing the view. Listening 

G 2 

Japanese Fairy Book. 

attentively, he heard her reading the Buddhist scriptures with 
great devotion. More and more curious, he hurried on to the 
tiny gate and entered the little garden, and looking up beheld 

I'aken by Surprise, she could hardly realise that it was her Father. 

his lost daughter Hase-Hime. She was so intent on what she 
was saying that she neither heard nor saw her father till he 

11 Hase-Hime ! " he cried, " it is you, my Hase-Hime ! " 
Taken by surprise, she could hardly realise that it was her 

The Story of Princess Hase. 85 

own dear father who was calling her, and for a moment she 
was utterly bereft of the power to speak or move. 

" My father, my father ! It is indeed you oh, my father ! " 
was all she could say, and running to him she caught hold of 
his thick sleeve, and burying her face burst into a passion of 

Her father stroked her dark hair, asking her gently to tell 
him all that had happened, but she only wept on, and he 
wondered if he were not really dreaming. 

Then the faithful old servant Katoda came out, and bowing 
himself to the ground before his master, poured out the long 
tale of wrong, telling him all that had happened, and how it 
was that he found his daughter in such a wild and desolate 
spot with only two old servants to take care of her. 

The Prince's astonishment and indignation knew no bounds. 
He gave up the hunt at once and hurried home with his 
daughter. One of the company galloped ahead to inform the 
household of the glad news, and the step-mother hearing what 
had happened, and fearful of meeting her husband now that 
her wickedness was discovered, fled from the house and 
returned in disgrace to her father's roof, and nothing more was 
heard of her. 

The old servant Katoda was rewarded with the highest 
promotion in his master's service, and lived happily to the end 
of his days, devoted to the little Princess, who never forgot 
that she owed her life to this faithful retainer. She was no 
longer troubled by an unkind step-mother, and her days passed 
happily and quietly with her father. 

As Prince Toyonari had no son, he adopted a younger son 

86 Japanese Fairy Book. 

of one of the Court nobles to be his heir, and to marry his 
daughter Hase-Hime, and in a few years the marriage took 
place. Hase-Hime lived to a good old age, and all said that 
she was the wisest, most devout, and most beautiful mistress 
that had ever reigned in Prince Toyonari's ancient house. 
She had the joy of presenting her son, the future lord of the 
family, to her father just before be retired from active life. 

To this day there is preserved a piece of needlework in one 
of the Buddhist temples of Kioto. It is a beautiful piece of 
tapestry, with the figure of Buddha embroidered in the silky 
threads drawn from the stem of the lotus. This is said to 
have been the work of the hands of the good Princess Hase. 



LONG, long ago there lived a man called Sentaro. His 
surname meant " Millionaire," but although he was not so 
rich as all that, he was still very far removed from being poor. 
He had inherited a small fortune from his father and lived on 
this, spending his time carelessly, without any serious thoughts 
of work, till he was about thirty-two years of age. 

One day, without any reason whatsoever, the thought ot 
death and sickness came to him. The idea of falling ill or 
dying made him very wretched. 

" I should like to live," he said to himself, " till I am five 
or six hundred years old at least, free from all sickness. The 
ordinary span of a man's life is very short." 

He wondered whether it were possible, by living simply 
and frugally henceforth, to prolong his life as long as he 

He knew there were many stories in ancient history of 
emperors who had lived a thousand years, and there was a 
Princess of Yamato, who it was said, lived to the age of five 
hundred. This was the latest story of a very long life on 

Sentaro had often heard the tale of the Chinese King 
named Shin-no-Shiko. He was one of the most able and 

88 Japanese Fairy Rook. 

powerful rulers in Chinese history. He built all the large 
palaces, and also the famous great wall of China. He had 
everything in the world he could wish for, but in spite of all 
his happiness, and the luxury and splendour of his Court, the 
wisdom of his councillors and the glory of his reign, he was 
miserable because he knew that one day he must die and 
leave it all. 

When Shin-no-Shiko went to bed at night, when he rose 
in the morning, as he went through his day, the thought of 
death was always with him. He could not get away from it. 
Ah if only he could find the " Elixir of Life," he would be 

The Emperor at last called a meeting of his courtiers and 
asked them all if they could not find for him the " Elixir ot 
Life " of which he had so often read and heard. 

One old courtier, Jofuku by name, said that far away across 
the seas there was a country called Horaizan, and that certain 
hermits lived there who possessed the secret of the " Elixir of 
Life." Whoever drank of this wonderful draught lived for 

The Emperor ordered Jofuku to set out for the land ot 
Horaizan, to find the hermits, and to bring him back a phial of 
the magic elixir. He gave Jofuku one of his best junks, fitted 
it out for him, and loaded it with great quantities of treasures 
and precious stones for Jofuku to take as presents to the 

Jofuku sailed for the land of Horaizan, but he never returned 
to the waiting Emperor ; but ever since that time Mount Fuji 
has been said to be the fabled Horaizan and the home of 

The Story of the Man who did not Wish to Die. 89 

hermits who had the secret of the elixir, and Jofuku has been 
worshipped as their patron god. 

Now Sentaro determined to set out to find the hermits, and 
if he could, to become one, so that he might obtain the water 
of perpetual life. . He remembered that as a child he had been 
told that not only did these hermits live on Mount Fuji, but 
that they were said to inhabit all the very high peaks. 

So he left his old home to the care of his relatives, and 
started out on his quest. He travelled through all the 
mountainous regions of the land, climbing to the tops of the 
highest peaks, but never a hermit did he find. 

At last, after wandering in an unknown region for many 
days, he met a hunter. 

"Can you tell me," asked Sentaro, "where the hermits 
live who have the Elixir of Life ? ' 

" No," said the hunter ; " I can't tell you where such 
hermits live, but there is a notorious robber living in these 
parts. It is said that he is chief of a band of two hundred 

This odd answer irritated Sentaro very much, and he thought 
how foolish it was to waste more time in looking for the 
hermits in this way, so he decided to go at once to the shrine 
of Jofuku, who is worshipped as the patron god of the hermits 
in the South of Japan. 

Sentaro reached the shrine and prayed for seven days, 
entreating Jofuku to show him the way to a hermit who could 
give him what he wanted so much to find. 

At midnight of the seventh day, as Sentaro knelt in the 
temple, the door of the innermost shrine flew open, and Jofuku 

90 Japanese Fairy Book. 

appeared in a luminous cloud, and calling to Sentaro to come 
nearer, spoke thus : 

" Your desire is a very selfish one and cannot be easily 
granted. You think that you would like to become a hermit 
so as to find the Elixir of Life. Do you know how hard a 
hermit's life is ? A hermit is only allowed to eat fruit and 
berries and the bark of pine trees ; a hermit must cut himself 
off from the world so that his heart may become as pure as 
gold and free from every earthly desire. Gradually after 
following these strict rules, the hermit ceases to feel hunger 
or cold or heat, and his body becomes so light that he can ride 
on a crane or a carp, and can walk on water without getting 
his feet wet. 

" You, Sentaro, are fond of good living and of every comfort. 
You are not even like an ordinary man, for you are exception- 
ally idle, and more sensitive to heat and cold than most people. 
You would never be able to go barefoot or to wear only one 
thin dress in the winter time ! Do you think that you would 
ever have the patience or the endurance to live a hermit's life ? 

" In answer to your prayer, however, I will help you in 
another way. I will send you to the country of Perpetual Life, 
where death never comes where the people live for ever ! ' 

Saying this, Jofuku put into Sentaro's hand a little crane 
made of paper, telling him to sit on its back and it would carry 
him there. 

Sentaro obeyed wonderingly. The crane grew large 
enough for him to ride on it with comfort. It then spread its 
wings, rose high in the air, and flew away over the mountains 
right out to sea. 

The Story of the Man who did not Wish to Die. 91 

Sentaro was at first quite frightened ; but by degrees he 
grew accustomed to the swift flight through the air. On and 

The Crane flew away, right out to Sea. 

on they went for thousands of miles. The bird never stopped 
for rest or food, but as it was a paper bird it doubtless did not 
require any nourishment, and strange to say, neither did Sentaro. 

92 Japanese I "airy Book. 

Alter several days tlu-y reached an island. The crane flew 
some distance inland and then alighted. 

As soon as Sentaro got down from the bird's back, the 
crane folded up of its own accord and flew into his pocket. 

Now Sentaro began to look about him wonderingly, curious 
to see what the country of Perpetual Life was like. He walked 
first round about the country and then through the town. 
Everything was, of course, quite strange, and different from his 
own land, But both the land and the people seemed pros- 
perous, so he decided that it would be good for him to stay 
there and took up lodgings at one of the hotels. 

The proprietor was a kind man, and when Sentaro told 
him that he was a stranger and had come to live there, he 
promised to arrange everything that was necessary with the 
governor of the city concerning Sentaro's sojourn there. He 
even found a house for his guest, and in this way Sentaro 
obtained his great wish and became a resident in the country 
of Perpetual Life. 

Within the memory of all the islanders no man had ever 
died there, and sickness was a thing unknown. Priests had 
come over from India and China and told them of a beautiful 
country called Paradise, where happiness and bliss and con- 
tentment fill all men's hearts, but its gates could only be 
reached by dying. This tradition was handed down for ages 
from generation to generation but none knew exactly what 
death was except that it led to Paradise. 

Quite unlike Sentaro and other ordinary people, instead of 
having a great dread of death, they all, both rich and poor, 
longed for it as something good and desirable. They were 

The Story of the Man who did not Wish to Die. 93 

all tired of their long, long lives, and longed to go to the 
happy land of contentment called Paradise of which the priests 
had told them centuries ago. 

All this Sentaro soon found out by talking to the islanders. 
He found himself, according to his ideas, in the land of 
Topsyturvydom. Everything was upside down. He had 
wished to escape from dying. He had come to the land of 
Perpetual Life with great relief and joy, only to find that the 
inhabitants themselves, doomed never to die, would consider it 
bliss to find death. 

What he had hitherto considered poison these people ate 
as good food, and all the things to which he had been accus- 
tomed as food they rejected. Whenever any merchants from 
other countries arrived, the rich people rushed to them eager 
to buy poisons. These they swallowed eagerly hoping for 
death to come so that they might go to Paradise. 

But what were deadly poisons in other lands were without 
effect in this strange place, and people who swallowed them 
with the hope of dying, only found that in a short time they 
felt better in health instead of worse. 

Vainly they tried to imagine what death could be like. 
The wealthy would have given all their money and all their 
goods if they could but shorten their lives to two or three 
hundred years even. Without any change to live on for ever 
seemed to this people wearisome and sad. 

In the chemist-shops there was a drug which was in con- 
stant demand, because after using it for a hundred years, it was 
supposed to turn the hair slightly grey and to bring about 
disorders of the stomach. 

94 Japanese I ; airy Book. 

Sentaro was astonished to find that the poisonous globe-fish 
was served up in restaurants as a delectable dish, and hawkers 
in the streets went about selling sauces made of Spanish flies. 
He never saw anyone ill after eating these horrible things, nor 
did he ever see anyone with as much as a cold. 

Sentaro was delighted. He said to himself that he would 
never grow tired of living, and that he considered it profane to 
wish for death. He was the only happy man on the island. 
For his part he washed to live thousands of years and to enjoy 
life. He set himself up in business, and for the present never 
even dreamed of going back to his native land. 

As years went by, however, things did not go as smoothly as 
at first. He had heavy losses in business, and several times 
some affairs went wrong with his neighbours. This caused 
him great annoyance. 

Time passed like the flight of an arrow for him, for he was 
busy from morning till night. Three hundred years went by 
in this monotonous way, and then at last he began to grow 
tired of life in this country, and he longed to see his own land 
and his old home. However long he lived here, life would 
always be the same, so was it not foolish and wearisome to 
stay on here for ever ? 

Sentaro, in his wish to escape from the country of Perpetual 
Life, recollected Jofuku, who had helped him before when he 
was wishing to escape from death and he prayed to the saint 
to bring him back to his own land again. 

No sooner did he pray than the paper crane popped out of 
his pocket. Sentaro was amazed to see that it had remained 
undamaged after all these years. Once more the bird grew 

The Story of the Man who did not Wish to Die. 95 

and grew till it was large enough for him to mount it. As he 
did so, the bird spread its wings and flew swiftly out across the 
sea in the direction of Japan. 

Such was the wilfulness of the man's nature that he 
looked back and regretted all he had left behind. He tried to 

He Screamed out to Jofuku to come and Rescue him. 

stop the bird in vain. The crane held on its way for thousands 
of miles across the ocean. 

Then a storm came on, and the wonderful paper crane got 
damp, crumpled up, and fell into the sea. Sentaro fell with it. 
Very much frightened at the thought of being drowned, he 
cried out loudly to Jofuku to save him. He looked round, but 

96 Japanese Fairy Book. 

there was no ship in sight. He swallowed a quantity of sea- 
\vater, which only increased his miserable plight. While he 
was thus struggling to keep himself afloat, he saw a monstrous 
shark swimming towards him. As it came nearer it opened 
its huge mouth ready to devour him. Sentaro was all but 
paralysed with fear now that he felt his end so near, and 
screamed out as loudly as ever he could to Jofuku to come and 
rescue him. 

Lo, and behold, Sentaro was awakened by his own screams, 
to find that during his long prayer he had fallen asleep before 
the shrine, and that all his extraordinary and frightful adven- 
tures had been only a wild dream. He was in a cold perspiration 
with fright, and utterly bewildered. 

Suddenly a bright light came towards him, and in the light 
stood a messenger. The messenger held a book in his hand, 
and spoke to Sentaro : 

" I am sent to you by Jofuku, who in answer to your prayer, 
has permitted you in a dream to see the land of Perpetual Life. 
But you grew weary of living there, and begged to be allowed 
to return to your native land so that you might die. Jofuku, 
so that he might try you, allowed you to drop into the sea, and 
then sent a shark to swallow you up. Your desire for death 
was not real, for even at that moment you cried out loudly and 
shouted for help. 

" It is also vain for you to wish to become a hermit, or to find 
the Elixir of Life. These things are not for such as you your 
life is not austere enough. It is best for you to go back to your 
paternal home, and to live a good and industrious life. Never 
neglect to keep the anniversaries of your ancestors, and mak 

The Story of the Man who did not Wish to Die. 97 

it your duty to provide for your children's future. Thus will 
you live to a good old age and be happy, but give up the vain 
desire to escape death, for no man can do that, and by this 
time you have surely found out that even when selfish desires 
are granted they do not bring happiness. 

" In this book I give you there are many precepts good for 
you to know if you study them, you will be guided in the way 
I have pointed out to you." 

The angel disappeared as soon as he had finished speaking, 
and Sentaro took the lesson to heart. With the book in his 
hand he returned to his old home, and giving up all his old 
vain wishes, tried to live a good and useful life and to observe 
the lessons taught him in the book, and he and his house 
prospered henceforth, (^ -j ^ 



LONG, long ago, there lived an old bamboo woodcutter. 
He was very poor and sad also, for no child had Heaven sent 
to cheer his old age, and in his heart there was no hope of rest 
from work till he died and was laid in the quiet grave. Every 
morning he went forth into the woods and hills wherever the 
bamboo reared its lithe green plumes against the sky. When 
he had made his choice, he would cut down these feathers ot 
the forest, and splitting them lengthwise, or cutting them into 
joints, would carry the bamboo wood home and make it into 
various articles for the household, and he and his old wife 
gained a small livelihood by selling them. 

One morning as usual he had gone out to his work, and 
having found a nice clump of bamboos, had set to work to cut 
some of them down. Suddenly the green grove of bamboos 
was flooded with a bright soft light, as if the full moon had 
risen over the spot. Looking round in astonishment, he saw 
that the brilliance was streaming from one bamboo. The old 
man, full of wonder, dropped his axe and went towards the 
light. On nearer approach he saw that this soft splendour 
came from a hollow in the green bamboo stem, and still more 
wonderful to behold, in the midst of the brilliance stood a tiny 
human being, only three inches in height, and exquisitely 
beautiful in appearance* 

The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child. 99 

He took the little Creature in his Hand. 

H 2 

ioo Japanese Fairy Book. 

i < 

You must be sent to be my child, for I find you here 
among the bamboos where lies my daily work," said the old 
man, and takinir the little creature in his hand he took it home 


to his wife to bring up. The tiny girl was so exceedingly 
beautiful and so small, that the old woman put her into a 
basket to safeguard her from the least possibility of being hurt 
in any way. 

The old couple were now very happy, for it had been a life- 
long regret that they had no children of their own, and with 
joy they now expended all the love of their old age on the little 
child who had come to them in so marvellous a manner. 

From this time on, the old man often found gold in the 
notches of the bamboos when he hewed them down and cut them 
up ; not only gold, but precious stones also, so that by degrees 
he became rich. He built himself a fine house, and was no 
longer known as the poor bamboo woodcutter, but as a wealthy 

Three months passed quickly away, and in that time the 
bamboo child had, wonderful to say, become a full-grown girl, 
so her foster-parents did up her hair and dressed her in beautiful 
kimonos. She was of such wondrous beauty that they placed 
her behind the screens like a princess, and allowed no one to 
see her, waiting upon her themselves. It seemed as if she 
were made of light, for the house was filled with a soft shining, 
so that even in the dark of night it was like daytime. Her 
presence seemed to have a benign influence on those there. 
Whenever the old man felt sad, he had only to look upon his 
foster-daughter and his sorrow vanished, and he became as 
happy as when he was a youth. 

The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child. 101 

At last the day came for the naming of their new-found 
child, so the old couple called in a celebrated name-giver, and 
he gave her the name of Princess Moonlight, because her body 
gave forth so much soft bright light that she might have been 
a daughter of the Moon God. 

For three days the festival was kept up with song and 
dance and music. All the friends and relations of the old 
couple were present, and great was their enjoyment of the 
festivities held to celebrate the naming of Princess Moonlight. 
Everyone who saw her declared that there never had been i 
seen anyone so lovely ; all the beauties throughout the length 
and breadth of the land would grow pale beside her, so they 
said. The fame of the Princess's loveliness spread far and 
wide, and many were the suitors who desired to win her hand, 
or even so much as to see her. 

Suitors from far and near posted themselves outside the 
house, and made little holes in the fence, in the hope of catching 
a glimpse of the Princess as she went from one room to the 
other along the verandah. They stayed there day and night, 
sacrificing even their sleep for a chance of seeing her, but all 
in vain. Then they approached the house, and tried to speak 
to the old man and his wife or some of the servants, but not 
even this was granted them. 

Still, in spite of all this disappointment they stayed on day 
after day, and night after night, and counted it as nothing, so 
great was their desire to see the Princess. 

At last, however, most of the men, seeing how hopeless their 
quest was, lost heart and hope both, and returned to their homes. 
All except five Knights, whose ardour and determination, 

102 Japanese Fairy Book. 

instead of waning, seemed to wax greater with obstacles. 
These five men even went without their meals, and took 
snatches of whatever they could get brought to them, so that 
they might always stand outside the dwelling. They stood 
there in all weathers, in sunshine and in rain. 

Sometimes they wrote letters to the Princess, but no 
answer was vouchsafed to them. Then when letters failed 
to draw any reply, they wrote poems to her telling her ot 
the hopeless love which kept them from sleep, from food, from 
rest, and even from their homes. Still Princess Moonlight 
gave no sign of having received their verses. 

In this hopeless state the winter passed. The snow and 
frost and the cold winds gradually gave place to the gentle 
warmth of spring. Then the summer came, and the sun 
burned white and scorching in the heavens above and on the 
earth beneath, and still these faithful Knights kept watch and 
waited. At the end of these long months they called out to the 
old bamboo-cutter and entreated him to have some mercy upon 
them and to showthem the Princess, but he answered onlythat 
as he was not her real father he could not insist on her obeying 
him against her wishes. 

The five Knights on receiving this stern answer returned 
to their several homes, and pondered over the best means of 
touching the proud Princess's heart, even so much as to grant 
them a hearing. They took their rosaries in hand and knelt 
before their household shrines, and burned precious incense, 
praying to Buddha to give them their hearts' desire. Thus 
several days passed, but even so they could not rest in their 

The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child. 103 

So again they set out for the bamboo-cutter's house. This 
time the old man came out to see them, and they asked him to 
let them know if it was the Princess's resolution never to see 
any man whatsoever, and they implored him to speak for them 
and to tell her the greatness of their love, and how long they 
had waited through the cold of winter and the heat of summer, 
sleepless and roofless through all weathers, without food and 
without rest, in the ardent hope of winning her, and they were 
willing to consider this long vigil as pleasure if she would but 
give them one chance of pleading their cause with her. 

The old man lent a willing ear to their tale of love, for in 
his inmost heart he felt sorry for these faithful suitors and 
would have liked to see his lovely foster-daughter married to 
one of them. So he went in to Princess Moonlight and said 
reverently : 

" Although you have always seemed to me to be a heavenly 
being, yet I have had the trouble of bringing you up as my 
own child and you have been glad of the protection of my roof. 
Will you refuse to do as I wish ? " 

Then Princess Moonlight replied that there was nothing 
she would not do for him, that she honoured and loved him as 
her own father, and that as for herself she could not remember 
the time before she came to earth. 

The old man listened with great joy as she spoke these 
dutiful words. Then he told her how anxious he was to see 
her safely and happily married before he died. 

" I am an old man, over seventy years of age, and my 
end may come any time now. It is necessary and right 
that you should see these five suitors and choose one of them." 

IO4 Japanese Fairy Book. 

" Oh, why," said the Princess in distress, " must I do 
this ? I have no wish to marry now." 

" I found you," answered the old man, " many years ago, 
when you were a little creature three inches high, in the midst 
of a great white light. The light streamed from the bamboo 
in which you were hid and led me to you. So I have always 
thought that you were more than mortal woman. While I 
am alive it is right for you to remain as you are if you wish to 
do so, but some day I shall cease to be and who will take care 
of you then ? Therefore I pray you to meet these five brave 
men one at a time and make up your mind to marry one of 
them ! " 

Then the Princess answered that she felt sure that she was 
not as beautiful as perhaps report made her out to be, and that 
even if she consented to marry any one of them, not really 
knowing her before, his heart might change afterwards. So 
as she did not feel sure of them, even though her father told 
her they were worthy Knights, she did not feel it wise to see 

" All you say is very reasonable," said the old man, " but 
what kind of men will you consent to see ? I do not call these 
five men who have waited on you for months, light-hearted. 
They have stood outside this house through the winter and the 
summer, often denying themselves food and sleep so that they 
may win you. What more can you demand ? ' 

Then Princess Moonlight said she must make further trial 
of their love before she would grant their request to interview 
her. The five warriors were to prove their love by each bringing 
her from distant countries something that she desired to possess. 

The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child. 105 

That same evening the suitors arrived and began to play 
their flutes in turn, and to sing their self-composed songs telling 
of their great and tireless love. The bamboo-cutter went out 
to them and offered them his sympathy for all they had 
endured and all the patience they had shown in their desire to 
win his foster-daughter. Then he gave them her message, 
that she would consent to marry whosoever was successful in 
bringing her what she wanted. This was to test them. 

The five all accepted the trial, and thought it an excellent 
plan, for it would prevent jealousy between them. 

Princess Moonlight then sent word to the First Knight that 
she requested him to bring her the stone bowl which had 
belonged to Buddha in India. 

The Second Knight was asked to go to the Mountain of 
Horai, said to be situated in the Eastern Sea, and to bring her 
a branch of the wonderful tree that grew on its summit. The 
roots of this tree were of silver, the trunk of gold, and the 
branches bore as fruit white jewels. 

The Third Knight was told to go to China and search for 
the fire-rat and to bring her its skin. 

The Fourth Knight was told to search for the dragon that 
carried on its head the stone radiating five colours and to bring 
the stone to her. 

The Fifth Knight was to find the swallow which carried a 
shell in its stomach and to bring the shell to her. 

The old man thought these very hard tasks and hesitated 
to carry the messages, but the Princess would make no other 
conditions. So her commands were issued word for word to 
the five men who, when they heard what was required of them, 

io6 Japanese Fairy Book. 

were all disheartened and disgusted at what seemed to them 
the impossibility of the tasks given them and returned to their 
own homes in despair. 

But after a time, when they thought of the Princess, the 
love in their hearts revived for her, and they resolved to make 
an attempt to get what she desired of them. 

The First Knight sent word to the Princess that he was 
starting out that day on the quest of Buddha's bowl, and he 
hoped soon to bring it to her. But he had not the courage to 
go all the way to India, for in those days travelling was very 
difficult and full of danger, so he went to one of the temples in 
Kyoto and took a stone bowl from the altar there, paying the 
priest a large sum of money for it. He then wrapped it in a 
cloth of gold and, waiting quietly for three years, returned and 
carried it to the old man. 

Princess Moonlight wondered that the Knight should have 
returned so soon. She took the bowl from its gold wrapping, 
expecting it to make the room full of light, but it did not shine 
at all, so she knew that it was a sham thing and not the true 
bowl of Buddha. She returned it at once and refused to see 
him. The Knight threw the bowl away and returned to his 
home in despair. He gave up now all hopes of ever winning 
the Princess. 

The Second Knight told his parents that he needed 
change of air for his health, for he was ashamed to tell them 
that love for the Princess Moonlight was the real cause of his 
leaving them. He then left his home, at the same time sending 
word to the Princess that he was setting out for Mount Horai 
in the hope of getting her a branch of the gold and silver tree 

The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child. 107 

which she so much wished to have. He only allowed his- 
servants to accompany him half-way, and then sent them back. 
He reached the seashore and embarked on a small ship, and 
after sailing away for three days he landed and employed several' 
carpenters to build him a house contrived in such a way that 
no one could get access to it. He then shut himself up with 
six skilled jewellers, and endeavoured to make such a gold and 
silver branch as he thought would satisfy the Princess as 
having come from the wonderful tree growing on Mount 
Horai. Everyone whom he v had asked declared that Mount 
Horai belonged to the land of fable and not to fact. 

When the branch was finished, he took his journey home 
and tried to make himself look as if he were wearied and worn 
out with travel. He put the jewelled branch into a lacquer 
box and carried it to the bamboo-cutter, begging him to present 
it to the Princess. 

The old man was quite deceived by the travel-stained 
appearance of the Knight, and thought that he had only just 
returned from his long journey with the branch. So he tried 
to persuade the Princess to consent to see the man. But she 
remained silent and looked very sad. The old man began to 
take out the branch and praised it as a wonderful treasure 
to be found nowhere in the whole land. Then he spoke of 
the Knight, how handsome and how brave he was to have 
undertaken a iourney to so remote a place as the Mount 
of Horai. 

Princess Moonlight took the branch in her hand and looked 
at it carefully. She then told her foster-parent that she knew 
it was impossible for the man to have obtained a branch from 

io8 Japanese Fairy Book. 

the gold and silver tree growing on Mount Horai so quickly or 
so easily, and she was sorry to say she believed it artificial. 

The old man then went out to the expectant Knight, who 
had now approached the house, and asked where he had found 
the branch. Then the man did not scruple to make up a long 

" Two years ago I took a ship and started in search of 
Mount Horai. After going before the wind for some time I 
reached the far Eastern Sea. Then a great storm arose and I 
was tossed about for many days, losing all count of the points 
of the compass, and finally we were blown ashore on an 
unknown island. Here I found the place inhabited by demons 
who at one time threatened to kill and eat me. However, I 
managed to make friends with these horrible creatures, and 
they helped me and my sailors to repair the boat, and I set 
sail again. Our food gave out, and we suffered much from 
sickness on board. At last, on the five-hundredth day from 
the day of starting, I saw far off on the horizon what looked 
like the peak of a mountain. On nearer approach, this proved 
to be an island, in the centre of which rose a high mountain. I 
landed, and after wandering about for two or three days, I saw 
a shining being coming towards me on the beach, holding in 
his hands a golden bowl. I went up to him and asked him if 
I had, by good chance, found the island of Mount Horai, and 
he answered : 

" ' Yes, this is Mount Horai ! ' 

" With much difficulty I climbed to the summit, where stood 
the golden tree growing w r ith silver roots in the ground. The 
wonders of that strange land are many, and if I began to tell 

The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child. 109 

you about them I could never stop. In spite of my wish to 
stay there long, on breaking off the branch I hurried back. 
With utmost speed it has taken me four hundred days to get 
back, and, as you see, my clothes are still damp from exposure 
on the long sea voyage. I have not even waited to change my 
raiment, so anxious was I to bring the branch to the Princess 

Just at this moment the six jewellers, who had been 
employed on the making of the branch, but not yet paid 
by the Knight, arrived at the house and sent in a petition 
to the Princess to be paid for their labour. They said that 
they had worked for over a thousand days making the branch 
of gold, with its silver twigs and its jewelled fruit, that was now 
presented to her by the Knight, but as yet they had received 
nothing in payment. So this Knight's deception was thus 
found out, and the Princess, glad of an escape from one more 
importunate suitor, was only too pleased to send back the 
branch. She called in the workmen and had them paid 
liberally, and they went away happy. But on the way home 
they were overtaken by the disappointed man, who beat them 
till they were nearly dead, for letting out the secret, and they 
barely escaped with their lives. The Knight then returned 
home, raging in his heart ; and in despair of ever winning the 
Princess gave up society and retired to a solitary life among 
the mountains. 

Now the Third Knight had a friend in China, so he wrote to 
him to get the skin of the fire-rat. The virtue of any part of 
this animal was that no fire could harm it. He promised his 
friend any amount of money he liked to ask if only he could 

i TO Japanese Fairy Book. 

<ret him the desired article. As soon as the news came that 


the ship on which his friend had sailed home had come into 
port, he rode seven days on horseback to meet him. He 
handed his friend a large sum of money, and received the 
fire-rat's skin. When he reached home he put it carefully 
in a box and sent it in to the Princess while he waited outside 
for her answer. 

The bamboo-cutter took the box from the Knight and, as 
usual, carried it in to her and* tried to coax her to see the 
Knight at once, but Princess Moonlight refused, saying that 
she must first put the skin to test by putting it into the fire. It 
it were the real thing it would not burn. So she took off the 
crape wrapper and opened the box, and then threw the skin 
into the fire. The skin crackled and burnt up at once, and the 
Princess knew that this man also had not fulfilled his word. 
So the Third Knight failed also. 

Now the Fourth Knight was no more enterprising than the 
rest. Instead of starting out on the quest of the dragon 
bearing on its head the five-colour-radiating jewel, he called 
all his servants together and gave them the order to seek for it 
far and wide in Japan and in China, and he strictly forbade 
any of them to return till they had found it. 

His numerous retainers and servants started out in different 
directions, with no intention, however, of obeying what they 
considered an impossible order. They simply took a holiday, 
went to pleasant country places together, and grumbled at 
their master's unreasonableness. 

The Knight meanwhile, thinking that his retainers could 
not fail to find the jewel, repaired to his house, and fitted it up 

The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child. 1 1 1 

beautifully for the reception of the Princess, he felt so sure of 
winning her. 

One year passed away in weary waiting, and still his men 
did not return with the dragon-jewel. The Knight became 
desperate. He could wait no longer, so taking with him only 
two men, he hired a ship and commanded the captain to go in 
search of the dragon ; the captain and the sailors refused 
to undertake what they said was an absurd search, but the 
Knight compelled them at last to put out to sea. 

When they had been but a few days out they encountered 
a great storm which lasted so long that, by the time its fury 
abated, the Knight had determined to give up the hunt of the 
dragon. They were at last blown on shore, for navigation was 
primitive in those days. Worn out with his travels and anxiety, 
the fourth suitor gave himself up to rest. He had caught a 
very heavy cold, and had to go to bed with a swollen face. 

The governor of the place, hearing of his plight, sent 
messengers with a letter inviting him to his house. While 
he was there thinking over all his troubles, his love for the 
Princess turned to anger, and he blamed her for all the hard- 
ships he had undergone. He thought that it was quite probable 
she had wished to kill him so that she might be rid of him, 
and in order to carry out her wish had sent him upon his 
impossible quest. 

At this point all the servants he had sent out to find the 
jewel came to see him, and were surprised to find praise 
instead of displeasure awaiting them. Their master told them 
that he was heartily sick of adventure, and said that he never 
intended to go near the Princess's house again in the future. 

112 Japanese Fairy Book. 

Like all the rest, the Fifth Knight failed in his quest ne 
could not find the swallow's shell. 

By this time the fame of Princess Moonlight's beauty had 
reached the ears of the Emperor, and he sent one of the Court 
ladies to see if she were really as lovely as report said ; if so 
he would summon her to the Palace and make her one of the 

When the Court lady arrived, in spite of her father's 
entreaties, Princess Moonlight refused to see her. The 
Imperial messenger insisted, saying it was the Emperor's 
order. Then Princess Moonlight told the old man that it 
she were forced to go to the Palace in obedience to the 
Emperor's order, she would vanish from the earth. 

When the Emperor was told of her persistence in refusing 
to obey his summons, and that if pressed to obey she would dis- 
appear altogether from sight, he determined to go and see her. 
So he planned to go on a hunting excursion in the neighbour- 
hood of the bamboo-cutter's house, and see the Princess himself. 
He sent word to the old man of his intention, and he received 
consent to the scheme. The next day the Emperor set out 
with his retinue, which he soon managed to outride. He 
found the bamboo-cutter's house and dismounted. He then 
entered the house and went straight to where the Princess was 
sitting with her attendant maidens. 

Never had he seen anyone so wonderfully beautiful, and he 
could not but look at her, for she was more lovely than any 
human being as she shone in her own soft radiance. When 
Princess Moonlight became aware that a stranger was looking 
at her she tried to escape from the room, but the Emperor 

The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child. 113 

caught her and begged her to listen to what he had to say. 
Her only answer was to hide her face in her sleeves. 

The Emperor fell deeply in love with her, and begged her 
to come to the Court, where he would give her a position of 
honour and everything she could wish for. He was about to 
send for one of the Imperial palanquins to take her back with 
him at once, saying that her grace and beauty should adorn 
a Court and not be hidden in a bamboo-cutter's cottage. 

But the Princess stopped him. She said that if she were 
forced to go to the Palace she would turn at once into a shadow, 
and even as she spoke she began to lose her form. Her figure 
faded from his sight while he looked. 

The Emperor then promised to leave her free if only she 
would resume her former shape, which she did. 

It was now time for him to return, for his retinue would be 
wondering what had happened to their Royal master when they 
missed him for so long. So he bade her good-bye, and left the 
house with a sad heart. Princess Moonlight was for him the 
most beautiful woman in the world ; all others were dark beside 
her, and he thought of her night and day. His Majesty now 
spent much of his time in writing poems, telling her of his'love 
and devotion, and sent them to her, and though she refused 
to see him again she answered with many verses of her own 
composing, which told him gently and kindly that she could 
never marry anyone on this earth. These little songs always 
gave him pleasure. 

At this time her foster-parents noticed that night after night 
the Princess would sit on her balcony and gaze for hours at the 
moon, in a spirit of the deepest dejection, ending always in a 

F.B. l 

114 Japanese Fairy Book. 

burst of tears. One night the old man found her thus weeping 
as if her heart were broken, and he besought her to tell him the 
reason of her sorrow. 

With many tears she told him that he had guessed rightly 
when he supposed her not to belong to this world that she had 
in truth come from the moon, and that her time on earth would 
soon be over. On the fifteenth day of that very month of August 
her friends from the moon would come to fetch her, and she 
would have to return. Her parents were both there, but having 
spent a lifetime on the earth she had forgotten them, and also 
the moon-world to which she belonged. It made her weep, 
she said, to think of leaving her kind foster-parents, and the 
home where she had been happy for so long. 

When her attendants heard this they were very sad, and 
could not eat or drink for sadness at the thought that the 
Princess was so soon to leave them. 

The Emperor, as soon as the news was carried to him, 
sent messengers to the house to find out if the report were 
true or not. 

The old bamboo-cutter went out to meet the Imperial 
messengers. The last few days of sorrow had told upon the 
old man ; he had aged greatly, and looked much more than 
his seventy years. Weeping bitterly, he told them that the report 
was only too true, but he intended, however, to make prisoners 
of the envoys from the moon, and to do all he could to prevent 
the Princess from being carried back. 

The men returned and told His Majesty all that had passed. 
On the fifteenth day of that month the Emperor sent a guard 
of two thousand warriors to watch the house. One thousand 

The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child. 115 

stationed themselves on the roof, another thousand kept watch 
round all the entrances of the house. All were well trained 
archers, with bows and arrows. The bamboo-cutter and his 
wife hid Princess Moonlight in an inner room. 

The old man gave orders that no one was to sleep that 
night, all in the house were to keep a strict watch, and be ready 
to protect the Princess. With these precautions, and the help 
of the Emperor's men-at-arms, he hoped to withstand the moon- 
messengers, but the Princess told him that all these measures 
to keep her would be useless, and that when her people came 
for her nothing whatever could prevent them from carrying out 
their purpose ; even the Emperor's men would be powerless. 
Then she added with tears that she was very, very sorry to 
leave him and his wife, whom she had learnt to love as her 
parents ; that if she could do as she liked she would stay with 
them in their old age, and try to make some return for all 
the love and kindness they had showered upon her during 
all her earthly life. 

The night wore on ! The yellow harvest moon rose high in 
the heavens, flooding the world asleep with her golden light. 
Silence reigned over the pine and the bamboo forests, and on 
the roof where the thousand men-at-arms waited. 

Then the night grew grey towards the dawn and all hoped 
that the danger was over that Princess Moonlight would not 
have to leave them after all. Then suddenly the watchers saw 
a cloud form round the moon and while they looked this 
cloud began to roll earthwards. Nearer and nearer it came, 
and everyone saw with dismay that its course lay towards the 

I 2 

ii6 Japanese Fairy Book. 

In a. short time the sky was entirely obscured, till at last the 
cloud lay over the dwelling only ten feet off the ground. In the 
midst of the cloud there stood a flying chariot, and in the 
chariot a band of luminous beings. One amongst them who 
looked like a king and appeared to be the chief stepped 
out of the chariot and, poised in air, called to the old man to 
come out. 

" The time has come," he said, " for Princess Moonlight 
to return to the moon from whence she came. She committed 
a grave fault, and as a punishment was sent to live down here 
for a time. \Ye know what good care you have taken of the 
Princess, and we have rewarded you for this and have sent you 
wealth and prosperity. We put the gold in the bamboos for 
you to find." 

11 I have brought up this Princess for twenty years and 
never once has she done a wrong thing, therefore the lady you 
are seeking cannot be this one," said the old man. " I pray 
you to look elsewhere." 

Then the messenger called aloud, saying : 

" Princess Moonlight, come out from this lowly dwelling. 
Rest not here another moment." 

At these words the screens of the Princess's room slid 
open of their own accord, revealing the Princess shining in her 
own radiance, bright and wonderful and full of beauty. 

The messenger led her forth and placed her in the chariot. 
She looked back, and saw with pity the deep sorrow of the old 
man. She spoke to him many comforting words, and told him 
that it was not her will to leave him and that he must always 
think of her when looking at the moon. 

The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Child. 117 


The Screens slid open, revealing the Princess. 

ii8 Japanese Fairy Book. 

The bamboo-cutter implored to be allowed to accompany 
her, but this was not allowed. The Princess took off her 
embroidered outer garment and gave it to him as a keepsake. 

One of the moon beings in the chariot held a wonderful 
coat of wings, another had a phial full of the Elixir of Life 
which was given the Princess to drink. She swallowed a little 
and was about to give the rest to the old man, but she was 
prevented from doing so. 

The robe of wings was about to be put upon her shoulders, 
but she said : 

" Wait a little. I must not forget my good friend the 
Emperor. I must write him once more to say good-bye while 
still in this human form." 

In spite of the impatience of the messengers and charioteers 
she kept them waiting while she wrote. She placed the phial 
of the Elixir of Life with the letter, and, giving them to the 
old man, she asked him to deliver them to the Emperor. 

Then the chariot began to roll heavenwards towards the 
moon, and as they all gazed with tearful eyes at the receding 
Princess, the dawn broke, and in the rosy light of day the 
moon-chariot and all in it were lost amongst the fleecy clouds 
that were now wafted across the sky on the wings of the 
morning wind. 

Princess Moonlight's letter was carried to the Palace. His 
Majesty was afraid to touch the Elixir of Life, so he sent it 
with the letter to the top of the most sacred mountain in the 
land, Mount Fuji, and there the Royal emissaries burnt it on 
the summit at sunrise. So to this day people say there is smoke 
to be seen rising from the top of Mount Fuji to the clouds. 


LONG years ago in old Japan there lived in the Province of 
Echigo, a very remote part of Japan even in these days, a man 
and his wife. When this story begins they had been married 
for some years and were blessed with one little daughter. She 
was the joy and pride of both their lives, and in her they 
stored an endless source of happiness for their old age. 

What golden letter days in their memory were those that had 
marked her growing up from babyhood ; the visit to the temple 
when she was just thirty days old, her proud mother carrying 
her, robed in ceremonial kimono, to be put under the 
patronage of the family's household god ; then her first dolls 
festival, when her parents gave her a set of dolls and their 
miniature belongings, to be added to as year succeeded year ; 
and perhaps the most important occasion of all, on her third 
birthday, when her first obi (broad brocade sash) of scarlet 
and gold was tied round her small waist, a sign that she had 
crossed the threshold of girlhood and left infancy behind. 
Now that she was seven years of age, and had learned to talk 
and to wait upon her parents in those several little ways so 
dear to the hearts of fond parents, their cup of happiness 
seemed full. There could not be found in the whole of the 
Island Empire a happier little family. 


Japanese Fairy Book. 

'.- , 

The Wife gazed into the Shining Disc, 

The Mirror of Matsuyama. 121 

One day there was much excitement in the home, for the 
father had been suddenly summoned to the capital on business. 
In these days of railways and jinrickshas and other rapid 
modes of travelling, it is difficult to realise what such a journey 
as that from Matsuyama to Kyoto meant. The roads were 
rough and bad, and ordinary people had to walk every step of 
the way, whether the distance were one hundred or several 1 
hundred miles. Indeed, in those days it was as great an 
undertaking to go up to the capital as it is for a Japanese to 
make a voyage to Europe now. 

So the wife was very anxious while she helped her husband 
get ready for the long journey, knowing what an arduous task 
lay before him. Vainly she wished that she could accompany 
him, but the distance was too great for the mother and child 
to go, and besides that, it was the wife's duty to take care of 
the home. 

All was ready at last, and the husband stood in the porch 
with his little family round him. 

" Do not be anxious, I will come back soon," said the man. 
" While I am away take care of everything, and especially of 
our little daughter." 

" Yes, we shall be all right but you you must take care 
of yourself and delay not a day in coming back to us," said the 
wife, while the tears fell like rain from her eyes. 

The little girl was the only one to smile, for she was 
ignorant of the sorrow of parting, and did not know that going 
to the capital was at all different from walking to the next 
village, which her father did very often. She ran to his side, 
and caught hold of his long sleeve to keep him a moment. 


Japanese l : airy Book. 

" Father, I will be very good while I am waiting for you to 
come back, so please bring me a present." 

As the father turned to take a last look at his weeping wife 
and smiling, eager child, he felt as it someone were pulling 
him back by the hair, so hard was it for him to leave them 

They watched him as he went down the Road. 

behind, for they had never been separated before. But he 
knew that he must go, for the call was imperative. With a 
great effort he ceased to think, and resolutely turning away he 
went quickly down the little garden and out through the gate. 
His wife, catching up the child in her arms, ran as far as the 
gate, and watched him as he went down the road between the 

The Mirror of Matsuyama. 123 

pines till he was lost in the haze of the distance and all 
she could see was his quaint peaked hat, and at last that 
vanished too. 

" Now father has gone, you and I must take care of every- 
thing till he comes back," said the mother, as she made her 
way back to the house. 

"Yes, I will be very good," said the child, nodding her 
head, " and when father comes home please tell him how good 
I have been, and then perhaps he will give me a present." 

" Father is sure to bring you something that you want 
very much. I know, for I asked him to bring you a doll. You 
must think of father every day, and pray for a safe journey till 
he comes back." 

" O, yes, when he comes home again how happy I shall 
be," said the child, clapping her hands, and her face growing 
bright with joy at the glad thought. It seemed to the mother 
as she looked at the child's face that her love for her grew 
deeper and deeper. 

Then she set to work to make the winter clothes for the 
three of them. She set up her simple wooden spinning-wheel 
and spun the thread before she began to weave the stuffs. In 
the intervals of her work she directed the little girl's games 
and taught her to read the old stories of her country. Thus 
did the wife find consolation in work during the lonely days of 
her husband's absence. While the time was thus slipping 
quickly by in the quiet home, the husband finished his business 
and returned. 

It would have been difficult for anyone who did not know 
the man well to recognise him. He had travelled day after 


Japanese Fairy Book. 

day, exposed to all weathers, for about a month altogether, and 
was sunburnt to bronze, but his fond wife and child knew him 
at a glance, and flew to meet him from either side, each 
catching hold of one of his sleeves in their eacrer irreetiiv. 

"What I have brought you is called a Mirror." 

Both the man and his wife rejoiced to find each other well. 
It seemed a very long time to all till the mother and child 
helping his straw sandals were untied, his large umbrella hat 
taken off, and he was again in their midst in the old familiar 
sitting-room that had been so empty while he was away. 

As soon as they had sat down on the white mats, the father 

The Mirror of Matsuyama. 125 

opened a bamboo basket that he had brought in with him, and 
took out a beautiful doll and a lacquer box full of cakes. 

" Here," he said to the little girl, " is a present for you. It 
is a prize for taking care of mother and the house so well 
while I was away." 

" Thank you," said the child, as she bowed her head to the 
ground, and then put out her hand just like a little maple leaf 
with its eager widespread fingers to take the doll and the box, 
both of which, coming from the capital, were prettier than any- 
thing she had ever seen. No words can tell how delighted the 
little girl was her face seemed as if it would melt with joy, 
and she had no eyes and no thought for anything else. 

Again the husband dived into the basket, and brought out 
this time a square wooden box, carefully tied up with red and 
white string, and handing it to his wife, said : 

" And this is for you." 

The wife took the box, and opening it carefully took out a 
metal disc with a handle attached. One side was bright and 
shining like a crystal, and the other was covered with raised 
figures of pine-trees and storks, which had been carved out of 
its smooth surface in lifelike reality. Never had she seen 
such a thing in her life, for she had been born and bred in 
the rural province of Echigo. She gazed into the shining disc, 
and looking up with surprise and wonder pictured on her face, 
she said : 

" I see somebody looking at me in this round thing ! What 
is it that you have given me ? " 

The husband laughed and said : 

"Why, it is your own face that you see. What I have 

126 Japanese Fairy Book. 

brought you is called a mirror, and whoever looks into its clear 
surface can see their own form reflected there. Although 
there are none to be found in this out of the way place, yet 
they have been in use in the capital from the most ancient 
times. " There the mirror is considered a very necessary 
requisite for a woman to possess. There is an old proverb 
that ' As the sword is the soul of a samurai, so is the mirror 
the soul of a woman,' and according to popular tradition, a 
woman's mirror is an index to her own heart if she keeps it 
bright and clear, so is her heart pure and good. It is also one 
of the treasures that form the insignia of the Emperor. So 
you must lay great store by your mirror, and use it carefully." 

The wife listened to all her husband told her, and was 
pleased at learning so much that was new to her. She was 
still more pleased at the precious gift his token of remem- 
brance while he had been away. 

" If the mirror represents my soul, I shall certainly treasure 
it as a valuable possession, and never will I use it carelessly." 
Saying so, she lifted it as high as her forehead, in grateful 
acknowledgment of the gift, and then shut it up in its box and 
put it away. 

The wife saw that her husband was very tired, and set 
about serving the evening meal and making everything as 
comfortable as she could for him. It seemed to the little 
family as if they had not known what true happiness was 
before, so glad were they to be together again, and this evening 
the father had much to tell of his journey and of all he had 
seen at the great capital. 

Time passed away in the peaceful home, and the parents 

The Mirror of Matsuyama. 127 

saw their fondest hopes realised as their daughter grew 
from childhood into a beautiful girl of sixteen. As a gem 
of priceless value is held in its proud owner's hand, so 
had they reared her with unceasing love and care : and now 
their pains were more than doubly rewarded. What a comfort 
she was to her mother as she went about the house taking her 
part in the housekeeping, and how proud her father was of her, 
for she daily reminded him of her mother when he had first 
married her. 

But, alas! in this world nothing lasts for ever. Even the moon 
is not always perfect in shape, but loses its roundness with time, 
and flowers bloom and then fade. So at last the happiness of 
this family was broken up by a great sorrow. The good and 
gentle wife and mother was one day taken ill. 

In the first days of her illness the father and daughter 
thought that it was only a cold, and were not particularly 
anxious. But the days went by and still the mother did not 
get better ; she only grew worse, and the doctor was puzzled, 
for in spite of all he did the poor woman grew weaker day 
by day. The father and daughter were stricken with grief, 
and day or night the girl never left her mother's side. But in 
spite of all their efforts the woman's life was not to be 

One day as the girl sat near her mother's bed, trying to 
hide with a cheery smile the gnawing trouble at her heart, the 
mother roused herself and taking her daughter's hand, gazed 
earnestly and lovingly into her eyes. Her breath was laboured 
and she spoke with difficulty: 

My daughter, I am sure that nothing can save me now. 


Japanese l ; airy Book. 

\Vhen I am dead, promise me to take care of your dear father 
and to try to be a good and dutiful woman." 

" Oh, mother," said the girl as the tears rushed to her 
eyes, " you must not say such things. All you have to do is 

The Mother roused herself and took her Daughter's Hand. 

to make haste and get well that will bring the greatest 
happiness to father and myself." 

" Yes, I know, and it is a comfort to me in my last days to 
know how greatly you long for me to get better, but it is not 
to be. Do not look so sorrowful, for it was so ordained in my 
previous state of existence that I should die in this life just at 

The Mirror of Matsuyama. 129 

this time ; knowing this, I am quite resigned to my fate. And 
now I have something to give you whereby to remember me 
when I am gone." 

Putting her hand out, she took from the side of the pillow 
a square wooden box tied up with a silken cord and tassels. 
Undoing this very carefully, she took out of the box the mirror 
that her husband had given her years ago. 

" When you were still a little child your father went up to 
the capital and brought me back as a present this treasure ; it 
is called a mirror. This I give you before I die. If, after I 
have ceased to be in this life, you are lonely and long to see 
me sometimes, then take out this mirror and in the clear and 
shining surface you will always see me so will you be able to 
meet with me often and tell me all your heart ; and though I 
shall not be able to speak, I shall understand and sympathise 
with you, whatever may happen to you in the future." With these 
words the dying woman handed the mirror to her daughter. 

The mind of the good mother seemed to be now at rest, 
and sinking back without another word her spirit passed quietly 
away that day. 

The bereaved father and daughter were wild with grief, and 
they abandoned themselves to their bitter sorrow. They feit 
it to be impossible to take leave of the loved woman who till now 
had filled their whole lives and to commit her body to the earth. 
But this frantic burst of grief passed, and then they took pos- 
session of their own hearts again, crushed though they were in 
resignation. In spite of this the daughter's life seemed to her 
desolate. Her love for her dead mother did not grow less with 
time, and so keen was her remembrance, that everything in daily 
F.B. K 


Japanese Fairy Book. 

life, even the falling of the rain and the blowing of the wind 
reminded her of her mother's death and of all that they had 
loved and shared together. One day when her father was out, 
and she was fulfilling her household duties alone, her loneliness 
and sorrow seemed more than she could bear. She threw 

In the round Mirror before her she saw her Mother's Face. 

herself down in her mother's room and wept as if her heart 
would break. Poor child, she longed just for one glimpse of 
the loved face, one sound of the voice calling her pet name, 
or for one moment's forgetfulness of the aching void in her 
heart. Suddenly she sat up. Her mother's last words had 
rung through her memory hitherto dulled by grief. 

The Mirror of Matsuyama. 131 

" Oh ! my mother told me when she gave me the mirror 
as a parting gift, that whenever I looked into it I should be 
able to meet her to see her. I had nearly forgotten her last 
words how stupid I am ; I will get the mirror now and see 
if it can possibly be true ! ' 

She dried her eyes quickly, and going to the cupboard took 
out the box that contained the mirror, her heart beating 
with expectation as she lifted the mirror out and gazed into its 
smooth face. Behold, her mother's words were true ! In the 
round mirror before her she saw her mother's face ; but, oh, 
the joyful surprise ! It was not her mother thin and wasted 
by illness, but the young and beautiful woman as she remem- 
bered her far back in the days of her own earliest childhood. It 
seemed to the girl that the face in the mirror must soon speak, 
almost that she heard the voice of her mother telling her again 
to grow up a good woman and a dutiful daughter, so earnestly 
did the eyes in the mirror look back into her own. 

" It is certainly my mother's soul that I see. She knows 
how miserable I am without her and she has come to comfort 
me. Whenever I long to see her she will meet me here ; how 
grateful I ought to be ! ' 

And from this time the weight of sorrow was greatly lightened 
for her young heart. Every morning, to gather strength for 
the day's duties before her, and every evening, for consolation 
before she lay down to rest, did the young girl take out the 
mirror and gaze at the reflection which in the simplicity of her 
innocent heart she believed to be her mother's soul. Daily she 
grew in the likeness of her dead mother's character, and was 
gentle and kind to all, and a dutiful daughter to her father. 

K 2 

132 Japanese Fairy Book. 

A year spent in mourning had thus passed away in the little 
household, when, by the advice of his relations, the man married 
again, and the daughter now found herself under the authority 
of a step-mother. It was a trying position ; but her days spent 
in the recollection of her own beloved mother, and of trying to 
be what that mother would wish her to be, had made the 
young girl docile and patient, and she now determined to be 
filial and dutiful to her father's wife, in all respects. Everything 
went on apparently smoothly in the family for some time under 
the new regime ; there were no winds or waves of discord to 
ruffle the surface of every day life, and the father was content. 

But it is a woman's danger to be petty and mean, and step- 
mothers are proverbial all the world over, and this one's heart 
was not as her first smiles were. As the days and weeks grew 
into months, the step-mother began to treat the motherless girl 
unkindly and to try and come between the father and child. 

Sometimes she went to her husband and complained of her 
step-daughter's behaviour, but the father knowing that this 
was to be expected, took no notice of her ill-natured complaints. 
Instead of lessening his affection for his daughter, as the woman 
desired, her grumblings only made him think of her the more. 
The woman soon saw that he began to show more concern for 
his lonely child than before. This did not please her at all, 
and she began to turn over in her mind how she could, by 
some means or other, drive her step-child out of the house. 
So crooked did the woman's heart become. 

She watched the girl carefully, and one day peeping into 
her room in the early morning, she thought she discovered a 
grave enough sin of which to accuse the child to her father. 

The Mirror of Matsuyama. 133 

The woman herself was a little frightened too at what she 
had seen. 

So she went at once to her husband, and wiping away some 
false tears she said in a sad voice : 

" Please give me permission to leave you to-day." 

The man was completely taken by surprise at the sudden- 
ness of her request, and wondered whatever was the matter. 

11 Do you find it so disagreeable," he asked, " in my house, 
that you can stay no longer ? " 

" No ! no ! it has nothing to do with you even in my 
dreams I have never thought that I wished to leave your side ; 
but if I go on living here I am in danger of losing my life, so 
I think it best for all concerned that you should allow me 
to go home ! " 

And the woman began to weep afresh. Her husband, dis- 
tressed to see her so unhappy, and thinking that he could not 
have heard aright, said : 

" Tell me what you mean ! How is your life in danger 
here ? " 

" I will tell you since you ask me. Your daughter dislikes 
me as her step-mother. For sometime past she has shut 
herself up in her room morning and evening, and looking in as 
I pass by, I am convinced that she has made an image of me 
and is trying to kill me by magic art, cursing me daily. It is 
not safe for me to stay here, such being the case ; indeed, 
indeed, I must go away, we cannot live under the same roof 
any more." 

The husband listened to the dreadful tale, but he could not 
believe his gentle daughter guilty of such an evil act. He 

134 Japanese Fairy Book. 

knew that by popular superstition people believed that one 
person could cause the gradual death of another by making an 
image of the hated one and cursing it daily ; but where had 
his young daughter learned such knowledge ? the thing was 
impossible. Yet he remembered having noticed that his 
daughter stayed much in her room of late and kept herself 
away from everyone, even when visitors came to the house. 
Putting this fact together with his wife's alarm, he thought 
that there might be something to account for the strange 

His heart was torn between doubting his wife and trusting 
his child, and he knew not what to do. He decided to go at 
once to his daughter and try to find out the truth. Comforting 
his wife and assuring her that her fears were groundless, he 
glided quietly to his daughter's room. 

The girl had for a long time past been very unhappy. She 
had tried by amiability and obedience to show her goodwill 
and to mollify the new wife, and to break down that wall of 
prejudice and misunderstanding that she knew generally stood 
between step-parents and their step-children. But she soon 
found that her efforts were in vain. The step-mother never 
trusted her, and seemed to misinterpret all her actions, and the 
poor child knew very well that she often carried unkind and 
untrue tales to her father. She could not help comparing her 
present unhappy condition with the time when her own mother 
was alive only a little more than a year ago so great a 
change in this short time ! Morning and evening she wept 
over the remembrance. Whenever she could she went to her 
room, and sliding the screens to, took out the mirror and gazed, 

The Mirror of Matsuyama. 135 

as she thought, at her mother's face. It was the only comfort 
that she had in these wretched days. 

Her father found her occupied in this way. Pushing aside 
the fusama, he saw her bending over something or other 
very intently. Looking over her shoulder, to see who was 
entering her room, the girl was surprised to see her father, for 
he generally sent for her when he wished to speak to her. She 
was also confused at being found looking at the mirror, for she 
had never told anyone of her mother's last promise, but had kept 
it as the sacred secret of her heart. So before turning to her 
father she slipped the mirror into her long sleeve. Her father 
noting her confusion, and her act of hiding something, said in a 
severe manner : 

" Daughter, what are you doing here ? And what is that 
that you have hidden in your sleeve ? " 

The girl was frightened by her father's seventy. Never 
had he spoken to her in such a tone. Her confusion changed 
to apprehension, her colour from scarlet to white. She sat 
dumb and shamefaced, unable to reply. 

Appearances were certainly against her ; the young girl 
looked guilty, and the father thinking that perhaps after all 
what his wife had told him was true, spoke angrily : 

" Then, is it really true that you are daily cursing your 
step-mother and praying for her death ? Have you forgotten 
what I told you, that although she is your step-mother you 
must be obedient and loyal to her ? What evil spirit has taken 
possession of your heart that you should be so wicked ? You 
have certainly changed, my daughter ! What has made you 
so disobedient and unfaithful ? " 

136 Japanese Fairy Book. 

And the father's eyes filled with sudden tears to think that 
he should have to upbraid his daughter in this way. 

She on her part did not know what he meant, for she had 
never heard of the superstition that by praying over an image 
it is possible to cause the death of a hated person. But she 
saw that she must speak and clear herself somehow. She 
loved her father dearly, and could not bear the idea of his 
anger. She put out her hand on his knee deprecatingly : 

" Father ! father ! do not say such dreadful things to me. 
I am still your obedient child. Indeed, I am. However 
stupid I may be, I should never be able to curse anyone who 
belonged to you, much less pray for the death of one you love. 
Surely someone has been telling you lies, and you are dazed, and 
you know not what you say or some evil spirit has taken pos- 
session of your heart. As for me I do not know no, not so 
much as a dew-drop, of the evil thing of which you accuse me." 

But her father remembered that she had hidden something 
away when he first entered the room, and even this earnest 
protest did not satisfy him. He wished to clear up his doubts 
once for all. 

11 Then why are you always alone in your room these days ? 
And tell me what is that that you have hidden in your sleeve 
show it to me at once." 

Then the daughter, though shy of confessing how she 
had cherished her mother's memory, saw that she must tell her 
father all in order to clear herself. So she slipped the mirror 
out from her long sleeve and laid it before him. 

" This," she said, " is what you saw me looking at just now." 

"Why," he said in great surprise, "this is the mirror that 

The Mirror of Matsuyama 137 

1 brought as a gift to your mother when I went up to the 
capital many years ago ! And so you have kept it all this 
time ? Now, why do you spend so much of your time before 
this mirror?" 

Then she told him of her mother's last words, and of how 
she had promised to meet her child whenever she looked into 
the glass. But still the father could not understand the 
simplicity of his daughter's character in not knowing that 
what she saw reflected in the mirror was in reality her own 
face, and not that of her mother. 

" What do you mean ? " he asked. " I do not understand 
how you can meet the soul of your lost mother by looking in 
this mirror ? ' 

" It is indeed true," said the girl ; " and if you don't believe 
what I say, look for yourself," and she placed the mirror before 
her. There, looking back from the smooth metal disc, was her 
own sweet face. She pointed to the reflection seriously : 

" Do you doubt me still ? " she asked earnestly, looking up 
into his face. 

With an exclamation of sudden understanding the father 
smote his two hands together. 

" How stupid I am ! At last I understand. Your face is 
as like your mother's as the two sides of a melon thus you 
have looked at the reflection of your face all this time, thinking 
that you were brought face to face with your lost mother ! You 
are truly a faithful child. It seems at first a stupid thing to 
have done, but it is not really so. It shows how deep has been 
your filial piety, and how innocent your heart. Living in 
constant remembrance of your lost mother has helped you to 

138 Japanese Fairy Book. 

grow like her in character. How clever it was of her to tell 
you to do this. I admire and respect you, my daughter, and I 
am ashamed to think that for one instant I believed your 
suspicious step-mother's story and suspected you of evil, and 
came with the intention of scolding you severely, while ali this 
time you have been so true and good. Before you I have no 
countenance left, and I beg you to forgive me." 

And here the father wept. He thought of how lonely the 
poor girl must have been, and of all that she must have suffered 
under her step-mother's treatment. His daughter steadfastly 
keeping her faith and simplicity in the midst of such adverse 
circumstances bearing all her troubles with so much patience 
and amiability made him compare her to the lotus which 
rears its blossom of dazzling beauty out of the slime and mud 
of the moats and ponds, fitting emblem of a heart which keeps 
itself unsullied while passing through the world. 

The step-mother, anxious to know what would happen, had 
all this while been standing outside the room. She had grown 
interested, and had gradually pushed the sliding screen back 
till she could see all that went on. At this moment she suddenly 
entered the room, and dropping to the mats, she bowed her 
head over her outspread hands before her step-daughter. 

" I am ashamed ! I am ashamed ! " she exclaimed in 
broken tones. " I did not know what a filial child you were. 
Through no fault of yours, but with a step-mother's jealous 
heart, I have disliked you all the time. Hating you so much 
myself, it was but natural that I should think you reciprocated 
the feeling, and thus when I saw you retire so often to your room 
I followed you, and when I saw you gaze daily into the mirror 

The Mirror of Matsuyama. 139 

for long intervals, I concluded that you had found out how I 
disliked you, and that you were out of revenge trying to take 
my life by magic art. As long as I live I shall never forget 
the wrong I have done you in so misjudging you, and in causing 
your father to suspect you. From this day I throw away my 
old and wicked heart, and in its place I put a new one, clean 
and full of repentance. I shall think of you as a child that I 
have borne myself. I shall love and cherish you with all my 
heart, and thus try to make up for all the unhappiness I have 
caused you. Therefore, please throw into the water all that 
has gone before, and give me, I beg of you, some of the filial 
love that you have hitherto given your own lost mother." 

Thus did the unkind step-mother humble herself and ask 
forgiveness of the girl she had so wronged. 

Such was the sweetness of the girl's disposition that she 
willingly forgave her step-mother, and never bore a moment's 
resentment or malice towards her afterwards. The father saw 
by his wife's face that she was truly sorry for the past, and was 
greatly relieved to see the terrible misunderstanding wiped out 
of remembrance by both the wrongdoer and the wronged. 

From this time on, the three lived together as happily as fish 
in water. No such trouble ever darkened the home again, and 
the young girl gradually forgot that year of unhappiness in the 
tender love and care*that her step-mother now bestowed on her. 
Her patience and goodness were rewarded at last. 


LONG, long ago there was a large plain called Adachigahara, 
in the province of Mutsu in Japan. This place was said to be 
haunted by a cannibal goblin who took the form of an old 
woman. From time to time many travellers disappeared and 
were never heard of more, and the old women round the 
charcoal braziers in the evenings, and the girls washing the 
household rice at the wells in the mornings, whispered dreadful 
stories of how the missing folk had been lured to the goblin's 
cottage and devoured, for the goblin lived only on human flesh. 
No one dared to venture near the haunted spot after sunset, 
and all those who could, avoided it in the daytime, and 
travellers were warned of the dreaded place. 

One day as the sun was setting, a priest came to the plain. 
He was a belated traveller, and his robe showed that he was a 
Buddhist pilgrim walking from shrine to shrine to pray for 
some blessing or to crave for forgiveness of sins. He had 
apparently lost his way, and as it was late he met no one who 
could show him the road or warn him of the haunted spot. 

He had walked the whole day and was now tired and 
hungry, and the evenings were chilly, for it was late autumn, 
and he began to be very anxious to find some house where 
he could obtain a night's lodging. He found himself lost in 
the midst of the large plain, and looked about in vain for some 
sign of human habitation. 

The Goblin of Adachigahara. 


At last, after wandering about for some hours, he saw a 
clump of trees in the distance, and through the trees he caught 
sight of the glimmer of a single ray of light. He exclaimed 
with joy : 

He pressed the Old Woman to let him Stay, but she seemed very Reluctant. 

" Oh, surely that is some cottage where I can get a night's 
lodging ! " 

Keeping the light before his eyes he dragged his weary, 
aching feet as quickly as he could towards the spot, and soon 
came to a miserable-looking little cottage. As he drew near 

142 Japanese Fairy Book. 

he saw that it was in a tumble-down condition, the bamboo 
fence was broken and weeds and grass pushed their way 
tli rough the gaps. The paper screens which serve as windows 
and doors in Japan were full of holes, and the posts of the 
house were bent with age and seemed scarcely able to support 
the old thatched roof. The hut was open, and by the light of 
an old lantern an old woman sat industriously spinning. 

The pilgrim called to her across the bamboo fence and said : 

" Baa San (old woman), good evening! I am a traveller! 
Please excuse me, but I have lost my way and do not know 
what to do, for I have nowhere to rest to-night. I beg you to 
be good enough to let me spend the night under your roof." 

The old woman as soon as she heard herself spoken to 
stopped spinning, rose from her seat and approached the intruder. 

" I am very sorry for you. You must indeed be distressed 
to have lost your way in such a lonely spot so late at night. 
Unfortunately I cannot put you up, for I have no bed to offer 
you, and no accommodation whatsoever for a guest in this poor 
place ! " 

" Oh, that does not matter," said the priest; " all I want is 
a shelter under some roof for the night, and if you will be good 
enough just to let me lie on the kitchen floor I shall be grateful. 
I am too tired to walk further to-night, so I hope you will not 
refuse me, otherwise I shall have to sleep out on the cold plain." 
And in this way he pressed the old woman to let him stay. 

She seemed very reluctant, but at last she said : 

" Very well, I will let you stay here. I can offer you a 
very poor welcome only, but come in now and I will make a 
fire, for the night is cold." 

The Goblin of Adachigahara. 143 

The pilgrim was only too glad to do as he was told. He 
took off his sandals and entered the hut. The old woman 
then brought some sticks of wood and lit the fire, and bade her 
guest draw near and warm himself. 

" You must be hungry after your long tramp," said the old 
woman. " I will go and cook some supper for you." She 
then went to the kitchen to cook some rice. 

After the priest had finished his supper the old woman sat 
down by the fireplace, and they talked together for along time. 
The pilgrim thought to himself that he had been very lucky to 
come across such a kind, hospitable old woman. At last the 
wood gave out, and as the fire died slowly down he began to 
shiver with cold just as he had done when he arrived. 

" I see you are cold," said the old woman; " I will go out 
and gather some wood, for we have used it all. You must stay 
and take care of the house while I am gone." 

" No, no," said the pilgrim, "let me go instead, for you are 
old, and I cannot think of letting you go out to get wood for 
me this cold night ! ' 

The old woman shook her head and said : 

" You must stay quietly here, for you are my guest." Then 
she left him and went out. 

In a minute she came back and said : 

" You must sit where you are and not move, and whatever 
happens don't go near or look into the inner room. Now 
mind what I tell you ! " 

" If you tell me not to go near the back room, of course I 
won't," said the priest, rather bewildered. 

The old woman then went out again, and the priest was left 

144 Japanese Fairy Book. 

alone. The fire had died out, and the only light in the hut 
was that of a dim lantern. For the first time that night he 
began to feel that he was in a weird place, and the old woman's 
words, " Whatever you do don't peep into the back room," 
aroused his curiosity and his fear. 

What hidden thing could be in that room that she did not 
wish him to see? For some time the remembrance of his 
promise to the old woman kept him still, but at last he could 
no longer resist his curiosity to peep into the forbidden place. 

He got up and began to move slowly towards the back 
room. Then the thought that the old woman would be very 
angry with him if he disobeyed her made him come back to his 
place by the fireside. 

As the minutes went slowly by and the old woman did not 
return, he began to feel more and more frightened, and to 
wonder what dreadful secret was in the room behind him. He 
must find out. 

" She will not know that I have looked unless I tell her. 
I will just have a peep before she comes back," said the man 
to himseh. 

With these words he got up on his feet (for he had been 
sitting all this time in Japanese fashion with his feet under 
him) and stealthily crept towards the forbidden spot. With 
trembling hands he pushed back the sliding door and looked 
in. What he saw froze the blood in his veins. The room was 
full of dead men's bones and the walls were splashed and the 
floor was covered with human blood. In one corner skull 
upon skull rose to the ceilin-g, in another was a heap of arm 
bones, in another a heap of leg bones. The sickening smell 

The Goblin of Adachigahara. 

made him faint. He fell backwards with horror, and for some 
time lay in a heap with fright on the floor, a pitiful sight. He 
trembled all over and his teeth chattered, and he could hardly 
crawl away from the dreadful spot. 

What he saw froze the Blood in his Veins. 

" How horrible ! " he cried out. " What awful den have I 
come to in my travels ? May Buddha help me or I am lost. 
Is it possible that that kind old woman is really the cannibal 
goblin ? When she comes back she will show herself in her 
true character and eat me up at one mouthful ! " 

With these words his strength came back to him and, 
F.B. L 


Japanese Fairy Book. 

snatching up his hat and staff, he rushed out of the house as 
fast as his legs could carry him. Out into the night he ran, 
his one thought to get as far as he could from the goblin's 

LT : 




After him Rushed the Dreadful Old Hag. 

haunt. He had not gone far when he heard steps behind him 
and a voice crying : " Stop ! stop ! " 

He ran on, redoubling his speed, pretending not to hear. 
As he ran he heard the steps behind him come nearer and 
nearer, and at last he recognised the old woman's voice which 
grew louder and louder as she came nearer. 

The Goblin of Adachigahara. 147 

" Stop! stop, you wicked man, why did you look into the 
forbidden room? " 

The priest quite forgot how tired he was and his feet flew over 
the ground faster than ever. Fear gave him strength, for he 
knew that if the goblin caught him he would soon be one oi 
her victims. With all his heart he repeated the prayer to 
Buddha : 

" Namu Amida Butsu, Namu Amida Butsu." 

And after him rushed the dreadful old hag, her hair flying in 
the wind, and her face changing with rage into the demon that 
she was. In her hand she carried a large blood-stained knife, 
and she still shrieked after him, " Stop ! stop ! " 

At last, when the priest felt he could run no more, the dawn 
broke, and with the darkness of night the goblin vanished and 
he was safe. The priest now knew that he had met the 
Goblin of Adachigahara, the story of whom he had often 
heard but never believed to be true. He felt that he owed 
his wonderful escape to the protection of Buddha to whom he 
had prayed for help, so he took out his rosary and bowing his 
head as the sun rose he said his prayers and made his thanks- 
giving earnestly. He then set forward for another part of the 
country, only too glad to leave the haunted plain behind him. 

L 2 


LONG, long ago, there lived in the province of Shinshin in 
Japan, a travelling monkey-man, who earned his living by 
taking round a monkey and showing off the animal's tricks. 

One evening the man came home in a very bad temper and 
told his wife to send for the butcher the next morning. 

The wife was very bewildered and asked her husband : 

" Why do you wish me to send for the butcher ? " 

" It's no use taking that monkey round any longer, he's too 
old and forgets his tricks. I beat him with my stick all I know 
how, but he won't dance properly. I must now sell him to the 
butcher and make what money out of him I can. There is 
nothing else to be done." 

The woman felt very sorry for the poor little animal, 
and pleaded for her husband to spare the monkey, but her 
pleading was all in vain, the man was determined to sell him 
to the butcher. 

Now the monkey was in the next room and overheard 
every word of the conversation. He soon understood that he 
was to be killed, and he said to himself: 

" Barbarous, indeed, is my master ! Here I have served 
him faithfully for years, and instead of allowing me to end my 
days comfortably and in peace, he is going to let me be cut up 
by the butcher, and my poor body is to be roasted and stewed 

The Sagacious Monkey and the Boar. 149 

and eaten ? Woe is me ! What am I to do. Ah ! a bright 
thought has struck me ! There is, I know, a wild boar living 
in the forest near by. I have often heard tell of his wisdom. 
Perhaps if I go to him and tell him the strait I am in he will 
give me his counsel. I will go and try." 

There was no time to lose. The monkey slipped out of the 
house and ran as quickly as he could to the forest to find the 

The Monkey began his Tale of Woe. 

boar. The boar was at home, and the monkey began his tale 
of woe at once. 

" Good Mr. Boar, I have heard of your excellent wisdom. 
I am in great trouble, you alone can help me. I have grown 
old in the service of my master, and because I cannot dance 
properly now he intends to sell me to the butcher. What do 
you advise me to do ? I know how clever you are ! " 

150 Japanese Fairy Book. 

The boar was pleased at the flattery and determined to 
help the monkey. He thought for a little while and then said : 

" Hasn't your master a baby?" 

" Oh, yes," said the monkey, "he has one infant son." 

" Doesn't it lie by the door in the morning when your 
mistress begins the work of the day ? Well, I will come round 
early and when I see my opportunity I will seize the child 
and rur. off with it." 

" What then ?" said the monkey. 

" Why the mother will be in a tremendous scare, and before 
your master and mistress know what to do, you must run after 
me and rescue the child and take it home safely to its parents, 
and you will see that when the butcher comes they won't have 
the heart to sell you." 

The monkey thanked the boar many times and then went 
home. He did not sleep much that night, as you may imagine, 
for thinking of the morrow. His life depended on whether 
the boar's plan succeeded or not. He was the first up, waiting 
anxiously for what was to happen. It seemed to him a very 
long time before his master's wife began to move about and 
open the shutters to let in the light of day. Then all happened 
as the boar had planned. The mother placed her child near 
the porch as usual while she tidied up the house and got her 
breakfast ready. 

The child was crooning happily in the morning sunlight, 
dabbing on the mats at the play of light and shadow. 
Suddenly there was a noise in the porch and a loud cry from 
the child. The mother ran out from the kitchen to the spot, 
only just in time to see the boar disappearing through the gate 

The Sagacious Monkey and the Boar. 151 

with her child in its clutch. She flung out her hands with a 
loud cry of despair and rushed into the inner room where her 
husband was still sleeping soundly. 

* x 

The Monkey was running after the Thief as fast as his Legs would carry him. 

He sat up slowly and rubbed his eyes, and crossly demanded 
what his wife was making all that noise about. By the time 
that the man was alive to what had happened, and they both 

152 Japanese Fairy Book. 

got outside the gate, the boar had got well away, but they saw 
the monkey running after the thief as hard as his legs would 
carry him. 

Both the man and wife were moved to admiration at the 
plucky conduct of the sagacious monkey, and their gratitude 
knew no bounds when the faithful monkey brought the child 
safely back to their arms. 

" There ! " said the wife. " This is the animal you want to 
kill if the monkey hadn't been here we should have lost our 
child for ever." 

" You are right, wife, for once," said the man as he carried 
the child into the house. " You may send the butcher back 
when he comes, and now give us all a good breakfast and the 
monkey too." 

When the butcher arrived he was sent away with an order 
for some boar's meat for the evening dinner, and the monkey 
was petted and lived the rest of his days in peace, nor did his 
master ever strike him again. 

( 153 ) 



LONG, long ago Japan was governed by Hohodemi, the 
fourth Mikoto (or Augustness) in descent from the illustrious 
Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess. He was not only as handsome 
as his ancestress was beautiful, but he was also very strong and 
brave, and was famous for being the greatest hunter in the 
land. Because of his matchless skill as a hunter, he was called 
"Yama-sachi-hiko" or "The Happy Hunter of the Mountains." 

His elder brother was a very skilful fisher, and as he far 
surpassed all rivals in fishing, he was named " Umi-sachi-hiko " 
or the " Skilful Fisher of the Sea." The brothers thus led 
happy lives, thoroughly enjoying their respective occupations, 
and the days passed quickly and pleasantly while each pursued 
his own way, the one hunting and the other fishing. 

One day the Happy Hunter came to his brother, the Skilful 
Fisher, and said : 

" Well, my brother, I see you go to the sea every day with 
your fishing rod in your hand, and when you return you come 
laden with fish. And as for me, it is my pleasure to take my 
bow and arrow and to hunt the wild animals up the mountains 
and down in the valleys. For a long time we have each 
followed our favourite occupation, so that now we must both 
be tired, you of your fishing and I of my hunting. Would it 

154 Japanese Fairy Book. 

not be wise for us to make a change ? Will you try hunting 

O '/ J O 

in the mountains and I will go and fish in the sea?' : 

The Skilful Fisher listened in silence to his brother, and 
for a moment was thoughtful, but at last he answered : 

"0 yes, why not? Your idea is not a bad one at all. 
Give me your bow and arrow and I will set out at once for 
the mountains and hunt for game." 

So the matter was settled by this talk, and the two brothers 
each started out to try the other's occupation, little dreaming 
of all that would happen. It was very unwise of them, for the 
Happy Hunter knew nothing of fishing, and the Skilful Fisher, 
who was bad tempered, knew as much about hunting. 

The Happy Hunter took his brother's much-prized fishing 
hook and rod and went down to the seashore and sat on the 
rocks. He baited his hook and then threw it into the sea 
clumsily. He sat and gazed at the little float bobbing up and 
down in the water, and longed for a good fish to come and be 
caught. Every time the buoy moved a little he pulled up his 
rod, but there was never a fish at the end of it, only the hook 
and the bait. If he had known how to fish properly, he would 
have been able to catch plenty of fish, but although he was the 
greatest hunter in the land he could not help being the most 
bungling fisher. 

The whole day passed in this way, while he sat on the 
rocks holding the fishing rod and waiting in vain for his luck 
to turn. At last the day began to darken, and the evening 
came ; still he had caught not a single fish. Drawing up his 
line for the last time before going home, he found that he had 
lost his hook without even knowing when he had dropped it. 

The Happy Hunter and the Skilful Fisher. 155 

The Happy Hunter in vain besought his Brother to Pardon him. 

156 Japanese Fairy Book. 

He now began to feel extremely anxious, for he knew that 
his brother would be angry at his having lost his hook for, it 
being his only one, he valued it above all other things. The 
Happy Hunter now set to work to look among the rocks and 
on the sand for the lost hook, and while he was searching to 
and fro, his brother, the Skilful Fisher, arrived on the scene. 
He had failed to find any game while hunting that day, and 
was not only in a bad temper, but looked fearfully cross. When 
he saw the Happy Hunter searching about on the shore he knew 
that something must have gone wrong, so he said at once : 

" What are you doing, my brother ? ' 

The Happy Hunter went forward timidly, for he feared his 
brother's anger, and said : 

" Oh, my brother, I have indeed done badly." 

" What is the matter? what have you done ? " asked the 
elder brother impatiently. 

" I have lost your precious fishing hook ~" 

While he was still speaking his brother stopped him, and 
cried out fiercely : 

"Lost my hook! It is just what I expected. For this 
reason, when you first proposed your plan of changing over 
our occupations I was really against it, but you seemed to wish 
it so much that I gave in and allowed you to do as you wished. 
The mistake of our trying unfamiliar tasks is soon seen ! 
And you have done badly. I will not return you your bow and 
arrow till you have found my hook. Look to it that you find 
it and return it to me quickly." 

The Happy Hunter felt that he was to blame for all that 
v had come to pass, and bore his brother's scornful scolding with 

The Happy Hunter and the Skilful Fisher. 157 

humility and patience. He hunted everywhere for the hook 
most diligently, but it was nowhere to be found. He was at 
last obliged to give up all hope of finding it. He then went 
home, and in desperation broke his beloved sword into pieces 
and made five hundred hooks out of it. 

He took these to his angry brother and offered them to 
him, asking his forgiveness, and begging him to accept them in 
the place of the one he had lost for him. It was useless ; his 
brother would not listen to him, much less grant his request. 

The Happy Hunter then made another five hundred 
hooks, and again took them to his brother, beseeching him 
to pardon him. 

" Though you make a million hooks," said the Skilful 
Fisher, shaking his head, "they are of no use to me. I 
cannot forgive you unless you bring me back my own hook." 

Nothing would appease the anger of the Skilful Fisher, for 
he had a bad disposition, and had always hated his brother 
because of his virtues, and now with the excuse of the lost 
fishing hook he planned to kill him and to usurp his place 
as ruler of Japan. The Happy Hunter knew all this full well, 
but he could say nothing, for being the younger he owed his 
elder brother obedience ; so he returned to the seashore and 
once more began to look for the missing hook. He was much 
cast down, for he had lost all hope of ever finding his brother's 
hook now. While he stood on the beach, lost in perplexity 
and wondering what he had best do next, an old man 
suddenly appeared carrying a stick in his hand. The Happy 
Hunter afterwards remembered that he did not see from 
whence the old man came, neither did he know how he was 

158 Japanese Fairy Book. 

there he happened to look up and saw the old man coming 
towards him. 

" You are Hohodemi, the Augustness, sometimes called 
the Happy Hunter, are you not ? " asked the old man. " What 
are you doing alone in such a place ? ' 

" Yes, I am he," answered the unhappy young man. 
41 Unfortunately, while fishing I lost my brother's precious 
fishing hook. f I have hunted this shore all over, but alas ! 
I cannot find it, and I am very troubled, for my brother won't 
forgive me till I restore it to him. But who are you ? " 

" My name is Shiwozuchino Okina, and I live near by on 
this shore. I am sorry to hear what misfortune has befallen 
you. You must indeed be anxious. But if I tell you what I 
think, the hook is nowhere here it is either at the bottom of 
the sea or in the body of some fish who has swallowed it, and 
for this reason, though you spend your whole life in looking for 
it here, you will never find it." 

" Then what can I do ? " asked the distressed man. 

" You had better go down to Ryn Gu and tell Ryn Jin, the 
Dragon King of the Sea, what your trouble is and ask him to 
find the hook for you. I think that would be the best way." 

" Your idea is a splendid one," said the Happy Hunter, 
"but I fear I cannot get to the Sea King's realm, for I have 
.always heard that it is situated at the bottom of the sea." 

" Oh, there will be no difficulty about your getting there," 
said the old man ; " I can soon make something for you to ride 
on through the sea." 

" Thank you," said the Happy Hunter, " I shall be very 
^grateful to you if you will be so kind ! " 

The Happy Hunter and the Skilful Fisher. 159 

The old man at once set to work, and soon made a basket 
and offered it to the Happy Hunter. He received it with joy, 
and taking it to the water, mounted it, and prepared to start. 
He bade good-bye to the kind old man who had helped him so 
much, and told him that he would certainly reward him as soon 
as he found his hook and could return to Japan without fear of 
his brother's anger. The old man pointed out the direction he 
must take, and told him how to reach the realm of Ryn Gu, 
and watched him ride out to sea on the basket, which resembled 
a small boat. 

The Happy Hunter made all the haste he could, riding on 
the basket which had been given him by his friend. His queer 
boat seemed to go through the water of its own accord, and the 
distance was much shorter than he had expected, for in a few 
hours he caught sight of the gate and the roof of the Sea 
King's Palace. And what a large place it was, with its 
numberless sloping roofs and gables, its huge gateways, and 
its grey stone walls ! He soon landed, and leaving his basket 
on the beach, he walked up to the large gateway. The pillars 
of the gate were made of beautiful red coral, and the gate 
itself was adorned with glittering gems of all kinds. Large 
katsura trees overshadowed it. Our hero had often heard of 
the wonders of the Sea King's Palace beneath the sea, but all 
the stones he had ever heard fell short of the reality which he 
now saw for the first time. 

The Happy Hunter would have liked to enter the gate 
there and then, but he saw that it was fast closed, and also 
that there was no one about whom he could ask to open it for 
him, so he stopped to think what he should do. In the shade of 

160 Japanese Fairy Book. 

the trees before the gate he noticed a well full of fresh spring 
\vater. Surely someone would come out to draw water from 
the well some time, he thought. Then he climbed into the 
tree overhanging the well, and seated himself to rest on one of 
the branches, and waited for what might happen. Ere long he 
saw the huge gate swing open, and two beautiful women came 
out. Now the Mikoto (Augustness) had always heard that 
Ryn Gu was the realm of the Dragon King under the Sea, 
and had naturally supposed that the place was inhabited by 
dragons and similar terrible creatures, so that when he saw 
these two lovely princesses, whose beauty would be rare even 
in the world from which he had just come, he was exceedingly 
surprised, and wondered what it could mean. 

He said not a word, however, but silently gazed at them 
through the foliage of the trees, waiting to see what they 
would do. He saw that in their hands they carried golden 
buckets. Slowly and gracefully in their trailing garments they 
approached the well, standing in the shade of the katsura 
trees, and were about to draw water, all unknowing of the 
stranger who was watching them, for the Happy Hunter was 
quite hidden among the branches of the tree where he had 
posted himself. 

As the two ladies leaned over the side of the well to let 
down their golden buckets, which they did every day in the 
year, they saw reflected in the deep still water the face of a 
handsome youth gazing at them from amidst the branches ot 
the tree in whose shade they stood. Never before had they 
seen the face of mortal man ; they were frightened, and drew 
back quickly with their golden buckets in their hands. Their 

The Happy Hunter and the Skilful Fisher. 161 

curiosity, however, soon gave them courage, and they glanced 
timidly upwards to see the cause of the unusual reflection, and 
then they beheld the Happy Hunter sitting in the tree looking 
down at them with surprise and admiration. They gazed at 
him face to face, but their tongues were still with wonder and 
they could not find a word to say to him. 

When the Mikoto saw that he was discovered, he sprang 
down lightly from the tree and said : 

" I am a traveller, and as I was very thirsty I came to the 
well in the hopes of quenching my thirst, but I could find no 
bucket with which to draw the water. So I climbed into the 
tree, much vexed, and waited for someone to come. Just at that 
moment, while I was thirstily and impatiently waiting, you 
noble ladies appeared, as if in answer to my great need. 
Therefore I pray you of your mercy give me some water to 
drink, for I am a thirsty traveller in a strange land." 

His dignity and graciousness overruled their timidity, and 
bowing in silence they both once more approached the well, 
and letting down their golden buckets drew up some water and 
poured it into a jewelled cup and offered it to the stranger. 

He received it from them with both hands, raising it to the 
height of his forehead in token of high respect and pleasure, 
and then drank the water quickly, for his thirst was great. 
When he had finished his long draught he set the cup down 
on the edge of the well, and drawing his short sword he cut oft 
one of the strange curved jewels (magatama), a necklace of 
which hung round his neck and fell over his breast. He placed 
the jewel in the cup and returned it to them, and said, bowing 
deeply : 

F.B. M 

1 62 Japanese Fairy Book. 

" This is a token of my thanks ! " 

The two ladies took the cup, and looking into it to see 
what he had put inside for they did not yet know what it was 
they gave a start of surprise, for there lay a beautiful gem at 
the bottom of the cup. 

"No ordinary mortal would give away a jewel so freely. 
Will you not honour us by telling us who you are ? ' said the 
elder damsel. 

" Certainly," said the Happy Hunter, " I am Hohodemi, 
the fourth Mikoto, also called in Japan, the Happy Hunter." 

" Are you indeed Hohodemi, the grandson of Amaterasu, 
the Sun Goddess ? " asked the damsel who had spoken first. 
" I am the eldest daughter of Ryn Jin, the King of the Sea, and 
my name is Princess Tayotama." 

" And," said the younger maiden, who at last found her 
tongue, " I am her sister, the Princess Tamayori." 

" Are you indeed the daughters of Ryn Jin, the King of the 
Sea ? I cannot tell you how glad I am to meet you," said 
the Happy Hunter. And without waiting for them to reply he 
went on : 

" The other day I went fishing with my brother's hook and 
dropped it, how, I am sure I can't tell. As my brother prizes 
his fishing hook above all his other possessions, this is the 
greatest calamity that could have befallen me. Unless I find 
it again I can never hope to win my brother's forgiveness, for 
he is very angry at what I have done. I have searched for it 
many, many times, but I cannot find it, therefore I am much 
troubled. While I was hunting for the hook, in great distress, 
I met a wise old man, and he told me that the best thing I 

The Happy Hunter and the Skilful Fisher. 163 

could do was to come to Ryn Gu, and to Ryn Jin, the Dragon 
King of the Sea, and ask him to help me. This kind old man 
also showed me how to come. Now you know how it is I am 
here, and why. "' I want to ask Ryn Jin if he knows where the 
lost hook is. Will you be so kind as to take me to your father ? 
And do you think he will see me ? " asked the Happy Hunter 

Princess Tayotama listened to this long story, and then 
said : 

" Not only is it easy for you to see my father, but he will be 
much pleased to meet you. I am sure he will say that good 
fortune has befallen him, that so great and noble a man as 
you, the grandson of Amaterasu, should come down to the 
bottom of the sea." And then turning to her younger sister, 
she said : 

" Do you not think so, Tamayori ? ' 

" Yes, indeed," answered the Princess Tamayori, in her 
sweet voice. " As you say, we can know no greater honour 
than to welcome the Mikoto to our home." 

11 Then I ask you to be so kind as to lead the way," said 
the Happy Hunter. 

" Condescend to enter, Mikoto (Augustness)," said both the 
sisters, and bowing low, they led him through the gate. 

The younger Princess left her sister to take charge of the 
Happy Hunter, and going faster than they, she reached the 
Sea King's Palace first, and running quickly to her father's 
room, she told him of all that had happened to them at the 
gate, and that her sister was even now bringing the Augutness 
to him. The Dragon King of the Sea was much surprised at 

M 2 

164 Japanese Fairy Book. 

the news, for it was but seldom, perhaps only once in several 
hundred years, that the Sea King's Palace was visited by 

Ryn Jin at once clapped his hands and summoned all his 
courtiers and the servants of the Palace, and the chief fish of 
the sea together, and solemnly told them that the grandson of 
the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu, was coming to the Palace, and 
that they must be very ceremonious and polite in serving the 
august visitor. He then ordered them all to the entrance of 


the Palace to welcome the Happy Hunter. 

Ryn Jin then dressed himself in his robes of ceremony, and 
went out to welcome him. In a few moments the Princess 
Tayotama and the Happy Hunter reached the entrance, and 
the Sea King and his wife bowed to the ground and thanked 
him for the honour he did them in coming to see them. The 
Sea King then led the Happy Hunter to the guest room, and 
placing him in the uppermost seat, he bowed respectfully before 
him, and said : 

11 1 am Ryn Jin, the Dragon King of the Sea, and this is 
my wife. Condescend to remember us for ever ! " 

"Are you indeed Ryn Jin, the King of the Sea, of whom I 
have so often heard ?" answered the Happy Hunter, saluting 
his host most ceremoniously. " I must apologise for all the 
trouble I am giving you by my unexpected visit." And he 
bowed again, and thanked the Sea King. 

" You need not thank me," said Ryn Jin. " It is I who 
must thank you for coming. Although the Sea Palace is a 
poor place, as you see, I shall be highly honoured if you will 
make us a long visit." 

The Happy Hunter and the Skilful Fisher. 165 

There was much gladness between the Sea King and 
the Happy Hunter, and they sat and talked for a long time. 
At last the Sea King clapped his hands, and then a huge 
retinue of fishes appeared, all robed in ceremonial garments, 
and bearing in their fins various trays on which all kinds of sea 
delicacies were served. A great feast was now spread before 
the King' and his Royal guest. All the fishes-in-waiting were 
chosen from amongst the finest fish in the sea, so you can 
imagine what a wonderful array of sea creatures it was that 
waited upon the Happy Hunter that day. All in the Palace 
tried to do their best to please him and to show him that he 
was a much honoured guest. During the long repast, which 
lasted for hours, Ryn Jin commanded his daughters to play 
some music, and the two Princesses came in and performed on 
the koto (the Japanese harp), and sang and danced in turns. 
The time passed so pleasantly that the Happy Hunter seemed 
to forget his trouble and why he had come at all to the Sea 
King's Realm, and he gave himself up to the enjoyment of this 
wonderful place, the land of fairy fishes ! Who has ever heard 
of such a marvellous place? But the Mikoto soon remembered 
what had brought him to Ryn Gu, and said to his host : 

" Perhaps your daughters have told you, King Ryn Jin, that 
I have come here to try and recover my brother's fishing hook, 
which I lost while fishing the other day. May I ask you to be 
so kind as to inquire of all your subjects if any of them have 
seen a fishing hook lost in the sea ? " 

" Certainly," said the obliging Sea King, " I will immediately 
summon them all here and ask them." 

As soon as he had issued his command, the octopus, the 

1 66 Japanese Fairy Book. 

cuttlefish, the bonito, the oxtail fish, the eel, the jelly fish, 
the shrimp, and the plaice, and many other fishes of all kinds 
came in and sat down before Ryn Jin their King, and arranged 
themselves and their fins in order. Then the Sea King said 
solemnly : 

" Our visitor who is sitting before you all is the august 
grandson of Amaterasu. His name is Hohodemi, the fourth 
Augustness, and he is also called the Happy Hunter of the 
Mountains. While he was fishing the other day upon the 
shore of Japan, someone robbed him of his brother's fishing 
hook. He has come all this way down to the bottom of the 
sea to our Kingdom because he thought that one of you fishes 
may have taken the hook from him in mischievous play. 
If any of you have done so you must immediately return 
it, or if any of you know who the thief is you must at once tell 
us his name and where he is now." 

All the fishes were taken by surprise when they heard these 
words, and could say nothing for some time. They sat looking 
at each other and at the Dragon King. At last the cuttlefish 
came forward and said : 

" I think the tai (the red bream) must be the thief who 
has stolen the hook ! ' 

" Where is your proof? " asked the King. 

" Since yesterday evening the tai has not been able to eat 
anything, and he seems to be suffering from a bad throat ! 
For this reason I think the hook may be in his throat. You 
had better send for him at once ! ' 

All the fish agreed to this, and said : 

" It is certainly strange that the tai is the only fish who 

The Happy Hunter and the Skilful Fisher. 167 

has not obeyed your summons. Will you send for him and 
inquire into the matter. Then our innocence will be proved." 

"Yes," said the Sea King, "it is strange that the tai has 
not come, for he ought to be the first to be here. Send for him 
at once ! " 

Without waiting for the King's order the cuttlefish had 
already started for the tai's dwelling, and he now returned, 
bringing the tai with him. He led him before the King. 

The tai sat there looking frightened and ill. He certainly 
was in pain, for his usually red face was pale, and his eyes were 
nearly closed and looked but half their usual size. 

"Answer, Tai!" cried the Sea King, "why did you not 
come in answer to my summons to-day ? " 

" I have been ill since yesterday," answered the tai; "that 
is why I could not come." 

"Don't say another word!" cried out Ryn Jin angrily. 
" Your illness is the punishment of the gods for stealing the 
Mikoto's hook." 

" It is only too true!" said the tai; "the hook is still in my 
throat, and all my efforts to get it out have been useless. 
I can't eat, and I can scarcely breathe, and each moment 
I feel that it will choke me, and sometimes it gives me great 
pain. I had no intention of stealing the Mikoto's hook. I 
heedlessly snapped at the bait which I saw in the water, and 
the hook came off and stuck in my throat. So I hope you will 
pardon me." 

The cuttlefish now came forward, and said to the King : 

" What I said was right. You see the hook still sticks in 
the tai's throat. I hope to be able to pull it out in the 

1 68 

Japanese Fairy Book. 

presence of the Mikoto, and then we can return it to him 

" O please make haste and pull it out ! ' cried the tai, piti- 
fully, for he felt the pains in his throat coming on again ; " I do 
so want to return the hook to the Mikoto." 

- rl <^^i?i'tJ/^-\ * 


sjcvv XO*H 


The Cuttlefish opened the Tai's Mouth. 

" All right, Tai San" said his friend the cuttlefish, and then 
opening the tai's mouth as wide as he could and putting one 
of his feelers down the tai's throat, he quickly and easily drew 
the hook out of the sufferer's large mouth. He then washed it 
.and brought it to the King. 

The Happy Hunter and the Skilful Fisher. 169 

Ryn Jin took the hook from his subject, and then respect- 
fully returned it to the Happy Hunter (the Mikoto or August- 
ness, the fishes called him), who was overjoyed at getting 
back his hook. He thanked Ryn Jin many times, his face 
beaming with gratitude, and said that he owed the happy 
ending of his quest to the Sea King's wise authority and 

Ryn Jin now desired to punish the tai, but the Happy 
Hunter begged him not to do so ; since his lost hook was thus 
happily recovered he did not wish to make more trouble for the 
poor tai. It was indeed the tai who had taken the hook, but 
he had already suffered enough for his fault, if fault it could be 
called. What had been done was done in heedlessness and not 
by intention. The Happy Hunter said he blamed himself; if 
he had understood how to fish properly he would never have 
lost his hook, and therefore all this trouble had been caused in 
the first place by his trying to do something which he did not 
know how to do. So he begged the Sea King to forgive his 

Who could resist the pleading of so wise and compassionate 
a judge ? Ryn Jin forgave his subject at once at the request of 
his august guest. The tai was so glad that he shook his fins 
for joy, and he and all the other fish went out from the presence 
of their King, praising the virtues of the Happy Hunter. 

Now that the hook was found the Happy Hunter had 
nothing to keep him in Ryn Gu, and he was anxious to 
get back to his own kingdom and to make peace with his angry 
brother, the Skilful Fisher ; but the Sea King, who had learnt to 
love him and would fain have kept him as a son, begged him 

170 Japanese Fairy Book. 

not to go so soon, but to make the Sea Palace his home as long 
as ever he liked. While the Happy Hunter was still hesitating, 
the two lovely Princesses, Tayotama and Tamayori, came, and 
with the sweetest of bows and voices joined with their father 
in pressing him to stay, so that without seeming ungracious he 
could not say them " Nay," and was obliged to stay on for 
some time. 

Between the Sea Realm and the Earth there was no differ- 
ence in the flight of time, and the Happy Hunter found that 
three years went fleeting quickly by in this delightful land. 
The years pass swiftly \vhen anyone is truly happy. But 
though the wonders of that enchanted land seemed to be new 
every day, and though the Sea King's kindness seemed rather 
to increase than to grow less with time, the Happy Hunter 
grew more and more homesick as the days passed, and he 
could not repress a great anxiety to know what had happened to 
his home and his country and his brother while he had been 

So at last he went to the Sea King and said : 
" My stay with you here has been most happy and I am 
very grateful to you for all your kindness to me, but I govern 
Japan, and, delightful as this place is, I cannot absent 
myself for ever from my country. I must also return the 
fishing hook to my brother and ask his forgiveness for having 
deprived him of it for so long. I am indeed very sorry to part 
from you, but this time it cannot be helped. With your 
gracious permission, I will take my leave to day. I hope to 
make you another visit some day. Please give up the idea of 
my staying longer now." 

The Happy Hunter and the Skilful Fisher. 171 

King Ryn Jin was overcome with sorrow at the thought 
that he must lose his friend who had made a great diversion in 
the Palace of the Sea, and his tears fell fast as he answered : 

" We are indeed very sorry to part with you, Mikoto, for we 
have enjoyed your stay with us very much. You have been a 
noble and honoured guest and we have heartily made you 
welcome. I quite understand that as you govern Japan you 
ought to be there and not here, and that it is vain for us to try 
and keep you longer with us, much as we would like to have 
you stay. I hope you will not forget us. Strange circum- 
stances have brought us together and I trust the friendship 
thus be^un between the Land and the Sea will last and STOW 

o o 

stronger than it has ever been before." 

When the Sea King had finished speaking he turned to his 
two daughters and bade them bring him the two Tide-Jewels 
of the Sea. The two Princesses bowed low, rose and glided 
out of the hall. In a few minutes they returned, each one 
carrying in her hands a flashing gem which filled the room 
with light. As the Happy Hunter looked at them he wondered 
what they could be. The Sea King took them from his 
daughters and said to his guest : 

" These two valuable talismans we have inherited from our 
ancestors from time immemorial. We now give them to you 
as a parting gift in token of our great affection for you. These 
two gems are called the Nanjiu and the Kanjiu." 

The Happy Hunter bowed low to the ground and said: 

" I can never thank you enough for all your kindness to 
me. And now will you add one more favour to the rest and tell 
me what these jewels are and what I am to do with them ? " 

172 Japanese Fairy Book. 

" The Nan jiu" answered the Sea King, " is also called the 
Jewel of the Flood Tide, and whoever holds it in his posses- 
sion can command the sea to roll in and to flood the land at 
any time that he wills. The Kanjiu is also called the Jewel 
of the Ebbing Tide, and this gem controls the sea and 
the waves thereof, and will cause even a tidal wave to 

Then Ryn Jin showed his friend how to use the talismans 
one by one and handed them to him. The Happy Hunter was 
very glad to have these two wonderful gems, the Jewel of the 
Flood Tide and the Jewel of the Ebbing Tide, to take back 
with him, for he felt that they would preserve him in case of 
danger from enemies at any time. After thanking his kind 
host again and again, he prepared to depart. The Sea King 
and the two Princesses, Tayotama and Tamayori, and all the 
inmates of the Palace, came out to say " Good-bye," and 
before the sound of the last farewell had died away the Happy 
Hunter passed out from under the great gateway, past the 
well of happy memory standing in the shade of the great 
katsura trees on his way to the beach. 

Here he found, instead of the queer basket on which he had 
come to the Realm of Ryn Gu, a large crocodile waiting for him. 
Never had he seen such a huge creature. It measured eight 
fathoms in length from the tip of its tail to the end of its long 
mouth. The Sea King had ordered the monster to cany the 
Happy Hunter back to Japan. Like the wonderful basket which 
Shiwozuchino Okina had made, it could travel faster than any* 
steamboat, and in this strange way, riding on the back 
of a crocodile, the Happy Hunter returned to his o\vn land. 

The Happy Hunter and the Skilful Fisher. 173 

As soon as the crocodile landed him, the Happy Hunter 
hastened to tell the Skilful Fisher of his safe return. He then gave 
him back the fishing hook which had been found in the mouth 
of the tai and which had been the cause of so much trouble 
between them. He earnestly begged his brother's forgiveness, 
telling him all that had happened to him in the Sea King's 
Palace and what wonderful adventures had led to the finding 
of the hook. 

Now the Skilful Fisher had used the lost hook as an excuse 
for driving his brother out of the country. When his brother 
had left him that day three years ago, and had not returned, he 
had been very glad in his evil heart and had at once usurped 
his brother's place as ruler of the land, and had become 
powerful and rich. Now in the midst of enjoying what did not 
belong to him, and hoping that his brother might never return 
to claim his rights, quite unexpectedly there stood the Happy 
Hunter before him. 

The Skilful Fisher feigned forgiveness, for he could make 
no more excuses for sending his brother away again, but in his 
heart he was very angry and hated his brother more and more, 
till at last he could no longer bear the sight of him day 
after day, and planned and watched for an opportunity to 
kill him. 

One day when the Happy Hunter was walking in the rice 
fields his brother followed him with a dagger. The Happy 
Hunter knew that his brother was following him to kill him, 
and he felt that now, in this hour of great danger, was the time 
to use the Jewels of the Flow and Ebb of the Tide and prove 
whether what the Sea King had told him was true or not. 


Japanese Fairy Book. 

So he took out the Jewel of the Flood Tide from the bosom 
of his dress and raised it to his forehead. Instantly over the 

He took out the Jewel of the Flood Tide. 

fields and over the farms the sea came rolling in wave upon 
wave till it reached the spot where his brother was standing. 
The Skilful Fisher stood amazed and terrified to see what was 

The Happy Hunter and the Skilful Fisher. 175 

happening. In another minute he was struggling in the water 
and calling on his brother to save him from drowning. 

The Happy Hunter had a kind heart and could not bear the 
sight of his brother's distress. He at once put back the Jewel 
of the Flood Tide and took out the Jewel of the Ebb Tide. 
No sooner did he hold it up as high as his forehead than the 
sea ran back and back, and ere long the tossing rolling floods 
had vanished, and the farms and fields and dry land appeared 
as before. 

The Skilful Fisher was very frightened at the peril of death 
in which he had stood, and was greatly impressed by the 
wonderful things he had seen his brother do. He learned now 
that he was making a fatal mistake to set himself against his 
brother, younger than he though he was, for he had now 
become so powerful that the sea would flow in and the tide ebb 
at his word of command. So he humbled himself before the 
Happy Hunter and asked him to forgive him all the wrong he 
had done him. The Skilful Fisher promised to restore his 
brother to his rights and also swore that though the Happy 
Hunter was the younger brother and owed him allegiance by 
right of birth, that he, the Skilful Fisher, would exalt him as his 
superior and bow before him as Lord of all Japan. 

Then the Happy Hunter said that he would forgive his 
brother if he would throw into the receding tide all his evil 
ways. The Skilful Fisher promised and there was peace 
between the two brothers. From this time he kept his word 
and became a good man and a kind brother. 

The Happy Hunter now ruled his Kingdom without being 
disturbed by family strife, and there was peace in Japan for a 

iy6 Japanese Fairy Book. 

long, longtime. Above ail the treasures in his house he prized 
the wonderful Jewels of the Flow and Ebb of the Tide which 
had been given him by Ryn Jin, the Dragon King- of the Sea. 

This is the congratulatory ending of the Happy Hunter and 
the Skilful Fisher. 

( 177 ) 


LONG, long ago there lived an old man and his wife who 
supported themselves by cultivating a small plot of land. Their 
life had been a very happy and peaceful one save for one great 
sorrow, and this was that they had no child. Their only pet 
was a dog named Shiro, and on him they lavished all the 
affection of their old age. Indeed, they loved him so much 
that whenever they had anything nice to eat they denied them- 
selves to give it to Shiro. Now Shiro means "white," and he 
was so called because of his colour. He was a real Japanese 
dog, and very like a small wolf in appearance. 

The happiest hour of the day both for the old man and his 
dog was when the man returned from his work in the field, 
and having finished his frugal supper of rice and vegetables, 
would take what he had saved from the meal out to the little 
verandah that ran round the cottage. Sure enough, Shiro was 
waiting for his master and the evening tit-bit. Then the old 
man said " Chin, chin!" and Shiro sat up and begged, -and his 
master gave him the food. Nextdoorto this good old couplethere 
lived another old man and his wife who were both wicked and 
cruel, and who hated their good neighbours and the dog Shiro 
with all their might. Whenever Shiro happened to look into 
their kitchen they at once kicked him or threw something 
at him, sometimes even wounding him. 

F.B. N 


Japanese Fairy Book. 

One day Shiro was heard barking for a long time in the 
field at the back of his master's house. The old man, thinking 
that perhaps some birds were attacking the corn, hurried out 

' v i L/ * '* L~J~~'* * 

. i ' H' ' /w'T/ ^ **-* - 

,j %\<^? "' n '^ 

'<(. i r.^H*. 


The deeper he Dug the more Gold Coins did the Old Man find. 

to see what was the matter. As soon as Shiro saw his master 
he ran to meet him, wagging his tail, and, seizing the end of 
his kimono t dragged him under a large yenoki tree. Here he 

The Old Man who made Withered Trees to Flower. 179 

began to dig very industriously with his paws, yelping with joy 
all the time. The old man, unable to understand what it all 
meant, stood looking on in bewilderment. But Shiro went on 
barking and digging with all his might. 

The thought that something might be hidden beneath the 
tree, and that the dog had scented it, at last struck the old man. 
He ran back to the house, fetched his spade and began to dig 
the ground at that spot. What was his astonishment when, 
after digging for some time, he came upon a heap of old and 
valuable coins, and the deeper he dug the more gold coins did 
he find. So intent was the old man on his work that he never 
saw the cross face of his neighbour peering at him through the 
bamboo hedge. At last all the gold coins lay shining on the 
ground. Shiro sat by erect with pride and looking fondly at 
his master as if to say, " You see, though only a dog, I can 
make some return for all the kindness you show me." 

The old man ran in to call his wife, and together they 
carried home the treasure. Thus in one day did the poor old 
man become rich. His gratitude to the faithful dog knew no 
bounds, and he loved and petted him more than ever, if that 
were possible. 

The cross old neighbour, attracted by Shiro's barking 


had been an unseen and envious witness of the finding of the 
treasure. He began to think that he, too, would like to find 
a fortune. So a few days later he called at the old man's 
house and very ceremoniously asked permission to borrow 
Shiro for a short time. 

Shiro's master thought this a strange request, because he 
knew quite well that not only did his neighbour not love his 

N 2 

180 Japanese Fairy Book. 

pet dog, but that he never lost an opportunity of striking and 
tormenting him whenever the dog crossed his path. But the 
good old man was too kind-hearted to refuse his neighbour, so 
he consented to lend the dog on the condition that he should 
be taken great care of. 

The wicked old man returned to his home with an evil 
smile on his face, and told his wife how he had succeeded in 
his crafty intentions. He then took his spade and hastened to 
his own field, forcing the unwilling Shiro to follow him. As 
soon as he reached a yenoki tree, he said to the dog, 

" If there were gold coins under your master's tree, there 
must also be gold coins under my tree. You must find them 
for me ! Where are they ? Where ? Where ? ' 

And catching hold of Shiro's neck he held the dog's head 
to the ground, so that Shiro began to scratch and dig in order 
to free himself from the horrid old man's grasp. 

The old man was very pleased when he saw the dog begin 
to scratch and dig, for he at once supposed that some gold 
coins lay buried under his tree as well as under his neighbour's, 
and that the dog had scented them as before; so pushing Shiro 
away he began to dig himself, but there was nothing to be 
found. As he went on digging a foul smell was noticeable, 
and he at last came upon a refuse heap. 

The old man's disgust can be imagined. This soon gave 
place to anger. He had seen his neighbour's good fortune, and 
hoping for the same luck himself, he had borrowed the dog 
Shiro ; and now, just as he seemed on the point of finding what 
,he sought, only a horrid smelling refuse heap had rewarded 

The Old Man who made Withered Trees to Flower. 181 

him for a morning's digging. Instead of blaming his own 
greed for his disappointment, he blamed the poor dog. He 
seized his spade, and with all his strength struck Shiro and 
killed him on the spot. He then threw the dog's body into 
the hole which he had dug in the hope of finding a treasure of 
gold coins, and covered it over with the earth. Then he 
returned to his house, telling no one, not even his wife, what 
he had done. 

After waiting several days, as the dog Shiro did not return, 
his master began to grow anxious. Day after day went by, 
and the good old man waited in vain. Then he went to his 
neighbour and asked him to give him back his dog. Without 
any shame or hesitation, the wicked neighbour answered that 
he had killed Shiro because of his bad behaviour. At this 
dreadful news Shiro's master wept many sad and bitter tears. 
Great, indeed, was his woeful surprise, but he was too good 
and gentle to reproach his bad neighbour. Learning that 
Shiro was buried under the yenoki tree in the field, he asked 
the old man to give him the tree, in remembrance of his poor 
dog Shiro. 

Even the cross old neighbour could not refuse such a 
simple request, so he consented to give the old man the tree 
under which Shiro lay buried. Shiro's master then cut the 
tree down and carried it home. Out of the trunk he made a 
mortar. In this his wife put some rice, and he began to pound 
it with the intention of making a festival to the memory of his 
dog Shiro. 

A strange thing happened ! His wife put the rice into the 
mortar, and no sooner had he begun to pound it to make the 

182 Japanese Fairy Book. 

cakes, than it began to increase in quantity gradually till it 
was about five times the original amount, and the cakes were 
turned out of the mortar as if an invisible hand were at work. 

When the old man and his wife saw this, they understood 
that it was a reward to them from Shiro for their faithful love 
to him. They tasted the cakes and found them nicer than any 
other food. So from this time they never troubled about food, 
for they lived upon the cakes with which the mortar never 
ceased to supply them. 

The greedy neighbour, hearing of this new piece of good 
luck, was filled with envy as before, and called on the old man 
and asked leave to borrow the wonderful mortar for a short 
time, pretending that he, too, sorrowed for the death of Shiro, 
and wished to make cakes for a festival to the dog's memory. 

The old man did not in the least wish to lend it to his 
cruel neighbour, but he was too kind to refuse. So the 
envious man carried home the mortar, but he never brought 
it back. 

Several days passed, and Shiro's master waited in vain for 
the mortar, so he went to call on the borrower, and asked him 
to be good enough to return the mortar if he had finished with 
it. He found him sitting by a big fire made of pieces of wood. 
On the ground lay what looked very much like pieces of a 
broken mortar. In answer to the old man's inquiry, the 
wicked neighbour answered haughtily : 

" Have you come to ask me for your mortar ? I broke it to 
pieces, and now I am making a fire of the wood, for when I 
tried to pound cakes in it only some horrid smelling stuff 
came out." 

The Old Man who made Withered Trees to Flower. 183 

The good old man said : 

" I am very sorry for that. It is a great pity you did not ask 
me for the cakes if you wanted them. I would have given you as 

The Withered Tree at once Burst into Full Bloom. 

many as ever you wanted. Now please give me the ashes 
of the mortar, as I wish to keep them in remembrance of 
my dog." 

184 Japanese Fairy Book. 

The neighbour consented at once, and the old man carried 


home a basket full of ashes. 

Not long after this the old man accidentally scattered some 
of the ashes made by the burning of the mortar on the trees 
of his garden. A wonderful thing happened ! 

It was late in autumn and all the trees had shed their 
leaves, but no sooner did the ashes touch their branches than 
the cherry trees, the plum trees, and all other blossoming 
shrubs burst into bloom, so that the old man's garden was 
suddenly transformed into a beautiful picture of spring. The 
old man's delight knew no bounds, and he carefully preserved 
the remaining ashes. 

The story of the old man's garden spread far and wide, 
and people from far and near came to see the wonderful sight. 

One day, soon after this, the old man heard some one 
knocking at his door, and going to the porch to see who it was 
he was surprised to see a Knight standing there. This Knight 
told him that he was a retainer of a great Daimio (Earl); that 
one of the favourite cherry trees in this nobleman's garden had 
withered, and that though everyone in his service had tried all 
manner of means to revive it, none took effect. The Knight 
was sore perplexed when he saw what great displeasure the 
loss of his favourite cherry tree caused the Daimio. At this 
point, fortunately, they had heard that there was a wonderful 
old man who could make withered trees to blossom, and that 
his Lord had sent him to ask the old man to come to him. 

" And," added the Knight, " I shall be very much obliged if 
you will come at once." 

The good old man was greatly surprised at what he 

The Old Man who made Withered Trees to Flower. 185 

heard, but respectfully followed the Knight to the nobleman's 

The Daimio, who had been impatiently awaiting the old 
man's coming, as soon as he saw him asked him at once : 

" Are you the old man who can make withered trees flower 
even out of season ? ' 

The old man made an obeisance, and replied : 

" I am that old man! " 

Then the Daimio said : 

" You must make that dead cherry tree in my garden 
blossom again by means of your famous ashes. I shall 
look on." 

Then they all went into the garden the Daimio and his 
retainers and the ladies-in-waiting, who carried the Daimio's 

The old man now tucked up his kimono and made ready to 
climb the tree. Saying " Excuse me," he took the pot ot 
ashes which he had brought with him, and began to climb the 
tree, everyone watching his movements with great interest. 

At last he climbed to the spot where the tree divided into 
two great branches, and taking up his position here, the old 
man sat down and scattered the ashes right and left all over 
the branches and twigs. 

Wonderful, indeed, was the result ! The withered tree at 
once burst into full bloom ! The Daimio was so transported 
with joy that he looked as if he would go mad. He rose to 
his feet and spread out his fan, calling the old man down from 
the tree. He himself gave the old man a wine cup filled with 
the best sake, and rewarded him with much silver and gold 

1 86 

Japanese Fairy Book. 

and many other precious things. The Daimio ordered that 
henceforth the old man should call himself by the name of 
Hana-Saka-Jijii, or "The Old Man who makes the Trees to 


The Daimio ordered his Retainers to put the Impostor in Prison. 

Blossom," and that henceforth all were to recognise him by 
this name, and he sent him home with great honour. 

The wicked neighbour, as before, heard of the good old 

The Old Man who made Withered Trees to Flower. 187 

man's fortune, and of all that had so auspiciously befallen him, 
and he could not suppress all the envy and jealousy that filled 
his heart. He called to mind how he had failed in his attempt 
to find the gold coins, and then in making the magic cakes ; 
this time surely he must succeed if he imitated the old man, 
who made withered trees to flower simply by sprinkling ashes 
on them. This would be the simplest task of all. 

So he set to work and gathered together all the ashes which 
remained in the fireplace from the burning of the wonderful 
mortar. Then he set out in the hope of finding some great 
man to employ him, calling out loudly as he went along : 

11 Here comes the wonderful man who can make withered 
trees blossom ! Here comes the old man who can make dead 
trees blossom ! " 

The Daimio in his Palace heard this cry, and said : 

" That must be the Hana-Saka-Jijii passing. I have 
nothing to do to-day. Let him try his art again ; it will amuse 
me to look on." 

So the retainers went out and brought in the impostor 
before their Lord. The satisfaction of the false old man can 
now be imagined. 

But the Daimio looking at him, thought it strange that he was 
not at all like the old man he had seen before, so he asked him : 

" Are you the man whom I named Hana-Saka-Jijii ? " 

And the envious neighbour answered with a lie : 

" Yes, my Lord ! " 

" That is strange ! " said the Daimio. " I thought there 
was only one Hana-Saka-Jijii in the world ! Has he now 
some disciples ? " 

1 88 Japanese Fairy Book. 

" I am the true Hana-Saka-Jijii. The one who came to 
you before was only my disciple ! " replied the old man again. 

" Then you must be more skilful than the other. Try what 
you can do and let me see ! ' 

The envious neighbour, with the Daimio and his Court 
following, then went into the garden, and approaching a dead 
tree, took out a handful of the ashes which he carried with 
him, and scattered them over the tree. 

But not only did the tree not burst into flower, but not 
even a bud came forth. Thinking that he had not used 
enough ashes, the old man took handfuls and again sprinkled 
them over the withered tree. But all to no effect. After 
trying several times, the ashes were blown into the Daimio's 
eyes. This made him very angry, and he ordered his retainers 
to arrest the false Hana-Saka-Jijii at once and put him in 
prison for an impostor. From this imprisonment the wicked 
old man was never freed. Thus did he meet with punishment 
at last for all his evil doings. 

The good old man, however, with the treasure of gold 
coins which Shiro had found for him, and with all the gold 
and the silver which the Daimio had showered on him, 
became a rich and prosperous man in his old age, and lived a 
long and happy life, beloved and respected by all. 



LONG, long ago, in old Japan, the Kingdom of the Sea 
was governed by a wonderful King. He was called Rin Jin, 
or the Dragon King of the Sea. His power was immense, for 
he was the ruler of all sea creatures both great and small, and 
in his keeping were the Jewels of the Ebb and Flow of the Tide. 
The Jewel of the Ebbing Tide when thrown into the ocean 
caused the sea to recede from the land, and the Jewel of the 
Flowing Tide made the waves to rise mountains high and to 
flow in upon the shore like a tidal wave. 

The Palace of Rin Jin was at the bottom of the sea, 
and was so beautiful that no one has ever seen anything 
like it even in dreams. The walls were of coral, the roof of 
jadestone and chrysoprase, and the floors were of the finest 
mother-of-pearl. But the Dragon King, in spite of his wide- 
spreading Kingdom, his beautiful Palace and all its wonders, 
and his power, which none disputed throughout the whole sea, 
was not at all happy, for he reigned alone. At last he thought 
that if he married he would not only be happier, but also more 
powerful. , So he decided to take a wife. Calling all his fish 
retainers together, he chose several of them as ambassadors to 
go through the sea and seek for a young Dragon Princess who 
would be his bride. 

At last they returned to the Palace bringing with them a 
lovely young dragon. Her scales were of a glittering green 

190 Japanese Fairy Book. 

like the wings of summer beetles, her eyes threw out glances of 
fire, and she was dressed in gorgeous robes. All the jewels of 
the sea worked in with embroidery adorned them. 

The King fell in love with her at once, and the wedding 
ceremony was celebrated with great splendour. Every living 
thing in the sea, from the great whales down to the little 
shrimps, came in shoals to offer their congratulations to the 
bride and bridegroom and to wish them a long and prosperous 
life. Never had there been such an assemblage or such gay 
festivities in the Fish-World before. The train of bearers who 
carried the bride's possessions to her new home seemed to 
reach across the waves from one end of the sea to the other. 
Each fish carried a phosphorescent lantern and was dressed in 
ceremonial robes, gleaming blue and pink and silver ; and the 
waves as they rose and fell and broke that night seemed to be 
rolling masses of white and green fire, for the phosphorus shone 
with double brilliancy in honour of the event. 

Now for a time the Dragon King and his bride lived very 
happily. They loved each other dearly, and the bridegroom 
day after day took delight in showing his bride all the 
wonders and treasures of his coral Palace, and she was never 
tired of wandering with him through its vast halls and gardens. 
Life seemed to them both like a long summer's day. 

Two months passed in this happy way, and then the 
Dragon Queen fell ill and was obliged to stay in bed. The 
King was sorely troubled when he saw his precious bride so ill, 
and at once sent for the fish doctor to come and give her some 
medicine. He gave special orders to the servants to nurse her 
carefully and to wait upon her with diligence, but in spite of 

The Jelly Fish and the Monkey. 


all the nurses' assiduous care and the medicine that the doctor 
prescribed, the young Queen showed no signs of recovery, but 
grew daily worse. 

Then the Dragon King interviewed the doctor and blamed 

The Dragon King Blamed the Doctor lor not Curing the Queen. 

him for not curing the Queen. The doctor was alarmed at 
Rin Jin's evident displeasure, and excused his want of skill 
by saying that although he knew the right kind of medicine to 
give the" invalid, it was impossible to find it in the sea. 

" Do you mean to tell me that you can't get the medicine 
here ? " asked the Dragon King. 

192 Japanese Fairy Book. 

" It is just as you say ! " said the doctor. 

" Tell me what it is you want for the Queen ? " demanded 
Kin Jin. 

" I want the liver of a live monkey ! " answered the doctor. 

" The liver of a live monkey ! Of course that will be most 
difficult to get," said the King. 

" If we could only get that for the Queen, Her Majesty 
would soon recover," said the doctor. 

"Very well, that decides it; we must get it somehow or 
other. But w r here are we most likely to find a monkey ? ' 
asked the King. 

Then the doctor told the Dragon King that some distance 
to the south there was a Monkey Island where a great many 
monkeys lived. 

" If only you could capture one of those monkeys ? " said 
the doctor. 

" How can any of my people capture a monkey ? " said the 
Dragon King, greatly puzzled. " The monkeys live on dry 
land, while we live in the water; and out of our element we are 
quite powerless ! I don't see what we can do ! ' 

" That has been my difficulty too," said the doctor. 
" But amongst your innumerable servants, you surely can 
find one who can go on shore for that express purpose ! ' 

" Something must be done," said the King, and calling his 
chief steward he consulted him on the matter. 

The chief steward thought for some time, and then, as if 
struck by a sudden thought, said joyfully : 

" I know what we must do ! There is the kurage (jelly 
fish). He is certainly ugly to look at, but he is proud of being 

The Jelly Fish and the Monkey. 193 

able to walk on land with his four legs like a tortoise. Let us 
send him to the Island of Monkeys to catch one." 

The jelly fish was then summoned to the King's presence, 
and was told by His Majesty what was required of him. 

The jelly fish; on being told of the unexpected mission 
which was to be entrusted to him, looked very troubled, and said 
that he had never been to the island in question, and as he had 
never had any experience in catching monkeys he was afraid 
that he would not be able to get one. 

"Well," said the chief steward, "if you depend on your 
strength or dexterity you will never catch a monkey. The only 
way is to play a trick on one ! " 

" How can I play a trick on a monkey? I don't know how 
to do it," said the perplexed jelly fish. 

" This is what you must do," said the wily chief steward. 
" When you approach the Island of Monkeys and meet some of 
them, you must try to get very friendly with one. Tell him 
that you are a servant of the Dragon King, and invite him to 
come and visit you and see the Dragon King's Palace. Try 
and describe to him as vividly as you can the grandeur of the 
Palace and the wonders of the sea so as to arouse his curiosity 
and make him long to see it all ! " 

"But how am I to get the monkey here? You know 
monkeys don't swim ! ' said the reluctant jelly fish. 

" You must carry him on your back. What is the use of 
your shell if you can't do that ! " said the chief steward. 

" Won't he be very heavy ? " queried kurage again. 

" You mustn't mind that, for you are working for the Dragon 
King ! " replied the chief steward. 

F.B. o 

194 Japanese Fairy Book. 

" I will do my best then," said the jelly fish, and he swam 
away from the Palace and started off towards the Monkey 
Island. Swimming swiftly he reached his destination in a few 
hours, and was landed by a convenient wave upon the shore. 
On looking round he saw not far away a big pine-tree with 
drooping branches and on one of those branches was just what 
he was looking for a live monkey. 

" I'm in luck ! " thought the jelly fish. " Now I must 
flatter the creature and try to entice him to come back with 
me to the Palace, and my part will be done ! ' 

So the jelly fish slowly walked towards the pine-tree. In 
those ancient days the jelly fish had four legs and a hard shell 
like a tortoise. When he got to the pine-tree he raised his 
voice and said : 

" How do you do, Mr. Monkey ? Isn't it a lovely day?" 

" A very fine day," answered the monkey from the tree. 
" I have never seen you in this part of the world before. 
Where have you come from and what is your name ? ' 

" My name is kurage or jelly fish. I am one of the 
servants of the Dragon King. I have heard so much of your 
beautiful island that I have come on purpose to see it," 
answered the jelly fish. 

" I am very glad to see you," said the monkey. 

" By-the-bye," said the jelly fish, " have you ever seen the 
Palace of the Dragon King of the Sea where I live ? ' 

" I have often heard of it, but I have never seen it ! " 
answered the monkey. 

"Then you ought most surely to come. It is a great pity 
for you to go through life without seeing it. The beauty of 

The Jelly Fish and the Monkey. 195 

the Palace is beyond all description it is certainly to my mind 
the most lovely place in the world," said the jelly fish. 

"Is it so beautiful as all that?" asked the monkey in 

Then the jelly fish saw his chance, and went on describing 
to the best of his ability the beauty and grandeur of the Sea 
King's Palace, and the wonders of the garden with its curious 
trees of white, pink and red coral, and the still more curious 
fruits like great jewels hanging on the branches. The monkey 
grew more and more interested, and as he listened he came 
down the tree step by step so as not to lose a word of the 
wonderful story. 

" I have got him at last ! " thought the jelly fish, but aloud 
he said : 

" Mr. Monkey, I must now go back. As you have never 
seen the Palace of the Dragon King, won't you avail 
yourself of this splendid opportunity by coming with me ? I 
shall then be able to act as guide and show you all the 
sights of the sea, which will be even more wonderful to you 
a land-lubber." 

" I should love to go," said the monkey, " but how am I to 
cross the water ? I can't swim, as you surely know ! " 

" There is no difficulty about that. I can carry you on my 

" That will be troubling you too much," said the monkey. 

" I can do it quite easily. I am stronger than I look, so 
you needn't hesitate," said the jelly fish, and taking the 
monkey on his back he stepped into the sea. 

" Keep very still, Mr. Monkey," said the jelly fish. "You 

o 2 

196 Japanese Fairy Book. 

mustn't fall into the sea; I am responsible for your safe arrival 
at the King's Palace." 

" Please don't go so fast, or I am sure I shall fall off," said 
the monkey. 

Thus they went along, the jelly fish skimming through the 

" Please don't go so fast, or I am sure I shall fall off,'' said the Monkey. 

waves with the monkey sitting on his back. When they were 
about half-way, the jelly fish, who knew very little of anatomy, 
began to wonder if the monkey had his liver with him or not ! 

" Mr. Monkey, tell me, have you such a thing as a liver 
with you ? " 

The Jelly Fish and the Monkey. 197 

The monkey was very much surprised at this queer 
question, and asked what the jelly fish wanted with a liver. 

" That is the most important thing of all," said the stupid 
jelly fish, " so as soon as I recollected it, I asked you if you 
had yours with you ? ' 

" Why is my liver so important to you ? ' asked the 

" Oh ! you will learn the reason later," said the jelly fish. 

The monkey grew more and more curious and suspicious, 
and urged the jelly fish to tell him for what his liver was 
wanted, and ended up by appealing to his hearer's feelings by 
saying that he was very troubled at what he had been told. 

Then the jelly fish, seeing how anxious the monkey looked. 
was sorry for him, and told him everything. How the Dragon 
Queen had fallen ill, and how the doctor had said that only 
the liver of a live monkey would cure her, and how the Dragon 
King had sent him to find one. 

" Now I have done as I was told, and as soon as we arrive 
at the Palace the doctor will want your liver, so I feel sorry for 
you ! " said the silly jelly fish. 

The poor monkey was horrified when he learnt all this, and 
very angry at the trick played upon him. He trembled with 
fear at the thought of what was in store for him. 

But the monkey was a clever animal, and he thought it the 
wisest plan not to show any sign of the fear he felt, so he tried 
to calm himself and to think of some way by which he might 

" The doctor means to cut me open and then take my liver 
out ! Why I shall die ! " thought the monkey. At last a bright 

198 Japanese Fairy Book. 

thought struck him, so he said quite cheerfully to the jelly 
fish : 

" What a pity it was, Mr. Jelly Fish, that you did not speak 
of this before we left the island ! ' 

" If I had told you why I wanted you to accompany me you 
would certainly have refused to come," answered the jelly 

" You are quite mistaken," said the monkey. " Monkeys 
can very well spare a liver or two, especially when it is wanted 
for the Dragon Queen of the Sea. If I had only guessed of 
what you were in need, I should have presented you with one 
without waiting to be asked. I have several livers. But the 
greatest pity is, that as you did not speak in time, I have left 
all my livers hanging on the pine-tree." 

"Have you left your liver behind you?" asked the jelly 

"Yes," said the cunning monkey, "during the daytime I 
usually leave my liver hanging up on the branch of a tree, as 
it is very much in the way when I am climbing about from 
tree to tree. To-day, listening to your interesting conversation, 
I quite forgot it, and left it behind when I came off with you. 
If only you had spoken in time I should have remembered it, 
and should have brought it along with me ! " 

The jelly fish was very disappointed \vhen he heard this, 
for he believed every word the monkey said. The monkey was 
of no good without a liver. Finally the jelly fish stopped and 
told the monkey so. 

"Well," said the monkey, "that is soon remedied. I am 
really sorry to think of all your trouble ; but if you will only 

The Jelly Fish and the Monkey. 199 

take me back to the place where you found me, I shall soon 
be able to get my liver." 

The jelly fish did not at all like the idea of going all the 
way back to the island again ; but the monkey assured him 
that if he would be so kind as to take him back he would get 
his very best liver, and bring it with him the next time. Thus 
persuaded,'' the jelly fish turned his course towards the 
Monkey Island once more. 

No sooner had the jelly fish reached the shore than the 
sly monkey landed, and getting up into the pine-tree where the 
jelly fish had first seen him, he cut several capers amongst 
the branches with joy at being safe home again, and then 
looking down at the jelly fish said : 

" So many thanks for all the trouble you have taken ! 
Please present my compliments to the Dragon King on your 
return ! " 

The jelly fish wondered at this speech and the mocking 
tone in which it was uttered. Then he asked the monkey if it 
wasn't his intention to come with him at once after getting his 

The monkey replied laughingly that he couldn't afford to 
lose his liver ; it was too precious. 

" But remember your promise ! " pleaded the jelly fish, now 
very discouraged. 

" That promise was false, and anyhow it is now broken ! " 
answered the monkey. Then he began to jeer at the jelly 
fish and told him that he had been deceiving him the whole 
time ; that he had no wish to lose his life, which he certainly 
would have done had he gone on to the Sea King's Palace to 

2OO Japanese Fairy Book. 

the old doctor waiting for him, instead of persuading he jelly 
fish to return under false pretences. 

" Of course, I won't give you my liver, but come and get it 
if you can ! ' added the monkey mockingly from the tree. 

There was nothing for the jelly fish to do now but to 
repent of his stupidity, and return to the Dragon King of the Sea 
and confess his failure, so he started sadly and slowly to swim 
back. The last thing he heard as he glided away, leaving the 
island behind him, was the monkey laughing at him. 

Meanwhile the Dragon King, the doctor, the chief steward, 
and all the servants were waiting impatiently for the return of 
the jelly fish. When they caught sight of him approaching 
the Palace, they hailed him with delight. They began to 
thank him profusely for all the trouble he had taken in going 
to Monkey Island, and then they asked him where the monkey 

Now the day of reckoning had come for the jelly fish. 
He quaked all over as he told his story. How he had brought 
the monkey half-way over the sea, and then had stupidly let 
out the secret of his commission ; how the monkey had deceived 
him by making him believe that he had left his liver behind 

The Dragon King's wrath was great, and he at once gave 
orders that the jelly fish was to be severely punished. The 
punishment was a horrible one. All the bones were to be drawn 
out from his living body, and he was to be beaten with sticks. 

The poor jelly fish, humiliated and horrified beyond all 
words, cried out for pardon. But the Dragon King's order had 
to be obeyed. The servants of the Palace forthwith each 

The Jelly Fish and the Monkey. 


brought out a stick and surrounded the jelly fish, and after 
pulling out his bones they beat him to a flat pulp, and then 
took him out beyond the Palace gates and threw him into 

They beat the Jelly Fish to a flat Pulp. 

the water. Here he was left to suffer and repent his foolish 
chattering, and to grow accustomed to his new state of 

2O2 Japanese Fairy Book. 

From this story it is evident that in former times the jelly 
fish once had a shell and bones something like a tortoise, but, 
ever since the Dragon King's sentence was carried out on the 
ancestor of the jelly fishes, his descendants have all been soft 
and boneless just as you see them to-day thrown up by the 
waves high upon the shores of Japan. 

( 203 ) 



LONG, long ago, one bright autumn day in Japan, it 
happened that a pink-faced monkey and a yellow crab were 
playing together along the bank of a river. As they were 
running about, the crab found a rice-dumpling and the monkey 
a persimmon-seed. 

The crab picked up the rice-dumpling and showed it to the 
monkey, saying : 

" Look what a nice thing I have found ! " 
Then the monkey held up his persimmon-seed and said : 
" I also have found something good ! Look ! " 
Now though the monkey is always very fond of persimmon 
fruit, he had no use for the seed he had just found. The per- 
simmon-seed is as hard and uneatable as a stone. He, therefore, 
in his greedy nature, felt very envious of the crab's nice dump- 
ling, and he proposed an exchange. The crab naturally did 
not see why he should give up his prize for a hard stone-like 
seed, and would not consent to the monkey's proposition. 

Then the cunning monkey began to persuade the crab, 
saying : 

" How unwise you are not to think of the future ! Your 
rice-dumpling can be eaten now, and is certainly much bigger 
than my seed ; but if you sow this seed in the ground it will 

204 Japanese Fairy Book. 

soon grow and become a great tree in a few years, and bear an 
abundance of fine ripe persimmons year after year. If only I 
could show it to you then with the yellow fruit hanging on its 
branches ! Of course, if you don't believe me I shall sow it 
myself; though I am sure, later on, you will be very sorry that 
you did not take my advice." 

The simple-minded crab could not resist the monkey's 
clever persuasion. He at last gave in and consented to the 
monkey's proposal, and the exchange was made. The greedy 
monkey soon gobbled up the dumpling, and with great reluc- 
tance gave up the persimmon-seed to the crab. He would 
have liked to keep that too, but he was afraid of making the 
crab angry and of being pinched by his sharp scissor-like claws. 
They then separated, the monkey going home to his forest 
trees and the crab to his stones along the river-side. As soon 
as the crab reached home he put the persimmon-seed in the 
ground as the monkey had told him. 

In the following spring the crab was delighted to see the shoot 
of a young tree push its way up through the ground. Each year 
it grew bigger, till at last it blossomed one spring, and in the 
following autumn bore some fine large persimmons. Among the 
broad smooth green leaves the fruit hung like golden balls, and 
as they ripened they mellowed to a deep orange. It was the 
little crab's pleasure to go out day by day and sit in the sun 
and put out his long eyes in the same way as a snail puts out 
its horn, and watch the persimmons ripening to perfection. 

" How delicious they will be to eat ! " he said to himself. 

At last, one day, he knew the persimmons must be quite, 
ripe and he wanted very much to taste one. He made several 

The Quarrel of the Monkey and the Crab. 205 

attempts to climb the tree, in the vain hope of reaching one 
of the beautiful persimmons hanging above him ; but he failed 
each time, for a crab's legs are not made for climbing trees 
but only for running along the ground and over stones, both 
of which he can do most cleverly. In his dilemma he thought 
of his old playmate the monkey, who, he knew, could climb 
trees better than anyone else in the world. He determined 
to ask the monkey to help him, and set out to find him. 

Running crab-fashion up the stony river bank, over the 
pathways into the shadowy forest, the crab at last found the 
monkey taking an afternoon nap in his favourite pine-tree, with 
his tail curled tight around a branch to prevent him from falling 
off in his dreams. He was soon wide awake, however, when he 
heard himself called, and eagerly listening to what the crab 
told him. When he heard that the seed which he had long ago 
exchanged for a rice-dumpling had grown into a tree and was 
now bearing good fruit, he was delighted, for he at once devised 
a cunning plan which would give him all the persimmons for 

He consented to go with the crab to pick the fruit for him. 
When they both reached the spot, the monkey was astonished 
to see what a fine tree had sprung from the seed, and with what 
a number of ripe persimmons the branches were loaded. 

He quickly climbed the tree and began to pluck and eat, as 
fast as he could, one persimmon after another. Each time he 
chose the best and ripest he could find, and went on eating till 
he could eat no more. Not one would he give to the poor 
hungry crab waiting below, and when he had finished there 
was little but the hard, unripe fruit left. 


Japanese Fairy Book. 

The Monkey began to pluck and eat as fast as he coulcU 

The Quarrel of the Monkey and the Crab. 207 

You can imagine the feelings of the poor crab after waiting 
patiently, for so long as he had done, for the tree to grow and 
the fruit to ripen, when he saw the monkey devouring all the 
good persimmons. He was so disappointed that he ran round 
and round the tree calling to the monkey to remember his promise. 
The monkey at first took no notice of the crab's complaints, 
but at last he picked out the hardest, greenest persimmon he 
could find and aimed it at the crab's head. The persimmon 
is as hard as stone when it is unripe. The monkey's missile 
struck home and the crab was sorely hurt by the blow. Again 
and again, as fast as he could pick them, the monkey pulled oft 
the hard persimmons and threw them at the defenceless crab 
till he dropped dead, covered with wounds all over his body. 
There he lay a pitiful sight at the foot of the tree he had 
himself planted. 

When the wicked monkey saw that he had killed the crab 
he ran away from the spot as fast as he could, in fear and 
trembling, like a coward as he was. 

Now the crab had a son who had been playing with a 
friend not far from the spot where this sad work had taken 
place. On the way home he came across his father dead, in a 
most dreadful condition his head was smashed and his shell 
broken in several places, and around his body lay the unripe 
persimmons which had done their deadly work. At this 
dreadful sight the poor young crab sat down and wept. 

But when he had wept for some time he told himself that 
this crying would do no good; it was his duty to avenge his 
father's murder, and this he determined to do. He looked 
about for some clue which would lead him to discover the 

208 Japanese Fairy Book. 

murderer. Looking up at the tree he noticed that the best 
fruit had gone, and that all around lay bits of peel and 
numerous seeds strewn on the ground as well as the unripe 
persimmons which had evidently been thrown at his father. 
Then he understood that the monkey was the murderer, for he 
now remembered that his father had once told him the story of 
the rice-dumpling and the persimmon-seed. The young crab 
knew that monkeys liked persimmons above all other fruit, 
and he felt sure that his greed for the coveted fruit had been 
the cause of the old crab's death. Alas ! 

He at first thought of going to attack the monkey at once, 
for he burned with rage. Second thoughts, however, told him 
that this was useless, for the monkey was an old and cunning 
animal and would be hard to overcome. He must meet cunning 
with cunning and ask some of his friends to help him, for he 
knew that it would be quite out of his power to kill him alone. 

The young crab set out at once to call on the mortar, his 
father's old friend, and told him of all that had happened. He 
besought the mortar with tears to help him avenge his father's 
death. The mortar was very sorry when he heard the woeful 
tale and promised at once to help the young crab punish the 
monkey to death. He warned him that he must be very 
careful in what he did, for the monkey was a strong and 
cunning enemy. The mortar now sent to fetch the bee and the 
chestnut (also the crab's old friends) to consult them about 
the matter. In a short time the bee and the chestnut arrived. 
When they were told all the details of the old crab's death 
and of the monkey's wickedness and greed, they both gladly 
consented to help the young crab in his revenge. 

The Quarrel of the Monkey and the Crab. 209 

After talking for a long time as to the ways and means of 
carrying out their plans they separated, and Mr. Mortar went 
home with the young crab to help him bury his poor father. 

While all this was taking place the monkey was con- 
gratulating himself (as the wicked often do before their 
punishment comes upon them) on all he had done so neatly. 
He thought it quite a fine thing that he had robbed his friend 
of all his ripe persimmons and then that he had killed him. 
Still, smile as hard as he might, he could not banish altogether 
the fear of the consequences should his evil deeds be discovered. 
// he were found out (and he told himself that this could not 
be for he had escaped unseen) the crab's family would be sure 
to bear him hatred and seek to take revenge on him. So he 
would not go out, and kept himself at home for several days. 
He found this kind of life, however, extremely dull, accus- 
tomed as he was to the free life of the woods, and at last 
he said : 

" No one knows that it was I who killed the crab ! I am 
sure that the old thing breathed his last before I left him. 
Dead crabs have no mouths ! Who is there to tell that I am 
the murderer ? Since no one knows, what is the use of shutting 
myself up and brooding over the matter ? What is done cannot 
be undone ! ' 

With this he wandered out into the crab settlement and 
crept about as slyly as possible near the crab's house and tried 
to hear the neighbours' gossip round about. He wanted to find 
out what the crabs were saying about their chief's death, for 
the old crab had been the chief of the tribe. But he heard 
nothing and said to himself: 

F.B. p 

2io Japanese Fairy Book. 

" They are all such fools that they don't know and don't 
care who murdered their chief! ' 

Little did he know in his so-called " monkey's wisdom ' 
that this seeming unconcern was part of the young crab's plan. 
He purposely pretended not to know who killed his father, and 
also to believe that he had met his death through his own fault. 
By this means he could the better keep secret the revenge on 
the monkey, which he was meditating. 

So the monkey returned home from his walk quite content. 
He told himself he had nothing now to fear. 

One fine day, when the monkey was sitting at home, he was 
surprised by the appearance of a messenger from the young 
crab. While he was wondering what this might mean, the 
messenger bowed before him and said : 

" I have been sent by my master to inform you that his 
father died the other day in falling from a persimmon tree 
while trying to climb the tree after fruit. This, being the 
seventh day, is the first anniversary after his death, and my 
master has prepared a little festival in his father's honour, 
and bids you come to participate in it as you were one of his 
best friends. My master hopes you will honour his house with 
your kind visit." 

When the monkey heard these words he rejoiced in his 
inmost heart, for all his fears of being suspected were now at 
rest. He could not guess that a plot had just been set in 
motion against him. He pretended to be very surprised at 
the news of the crab's death, and said : 

" I am, indeed, very sorry to hear of your chiefs death. 
We were great friends as you know. I remember that we once 

The Quarrel of the Monkey and the Crab. 211 

exchanged a rice-dumpling for a persimmon-seed. It grieves me 
much to think that that seed was in the end the cause of his 
death. I accept your kind invitation with many thanks. I 
shall be delighted to do honour to my poor old friend!" And 
he screwed some false tears from his eyes. 

The messenger laughed inwardly and thought, "The 
wicked monkey is now dropping false tears, but within a short 
time he shall shed real ones." But aloud he thanked the 
monkey politely and went home. 

When he had gone, the wicked monkey laughed aloud at what 
he thought was the young crab's innocence, and without the least 
feeling began to look forward to the feast to be held that day in 
honour of the dead crab, to which he had been invited. He 
changed his dress and set out solemnly to visit the young crab. 

He found all the members of the crab's family and his rela- 
tives waiting to receive and welcome him. As soon as the bows 
of meeting were over they led him to a hall. Here the young 
chief mourner came to receive him. Expressions of condo- 
lence and thanks were exchanged between them, and then they 
all sat down to a luxurious feast and entertained the monkey 
as the guest of honour. 

The feast over, he was next invited to the tea-ceremony 
room to drink a cup of tea. When the young crab had 
conducted the monkey to the tea-room he left him and retired. 
Time passed and still he did not return. At last the monkey 
became impatient. He said to himself: 

" This tea ceremony is always a very slow affair. I am tired 
of waiting so long. I am very thirsty after drinking so much 
sake at the dinner ! " 

P 2 


Japanese Fairy Book. 

He then approached the charcoal fireplace and began to 
pour out some hot water from the kettle boiling there, when 

',- /%/, *'' ' '-i 9 > 

wftAVr L 

" It was your Father's fault, not Mine," gasped the unrepent&nt Monkey. 

something burst out from the ashes with a great pop and hit 
the monkey right in the neck. It was the chestnut, one of 
the crab's friends, who had hidden himself in the fireplace. The 

The Quarrel of the Monkey and the Crab. 213 

monkey, taken by surprise, jumped backward, and then started 
to run out of the room. 

The bee, who was hiding outside the screens, now flew out 
and stung him on the cheek. The monkey was in great pain, 
his neck was burnt by the chestnut and his face badly stung 
by the bee, but he ran on screaming and chattering with rage. 

Now the stone mortar had hidden himself with several 
other stones on the top of the crab's gate, and as the monkey 
ran underneath, the mortar and all fell down on the top of the 
monkey's head. Was it possible for the monkey to bear the 
weight of the mortar falling on him from the top of the gate ? 
He lay crushed and in great pain, quite unable to get up. As he 
lay there helpless the young crab came up, and, holding his 
great claw scissors over the monkey, he said : 

" Do you now remember that you murdered my father ? " 

"Then you are my enemy ? >: gasped the monkey 

" Of course," said the young crab. 

" It was your father's fault not mine ! " gasped the 
unrepentant monkey. 

" Can you still lie ? I will soon put an end to your breath!" 
and with that he cut off the monkey's head with his pincher 
claws. Thus the w r icked monkey met his well-merited punish- 
ment, and the young crab avenged his father's death. 

This is the end of the story of the monkey, the crab, and 
the persimmon-seed. 


LONG, long ago, when all the animals could talk, there 
lived in the province of Inaba in Japan, a little white hare. 
His home was on the island of Oki, and just across the sea 
was the mainland of Inaba. 

Now the hare wanted very much to cross over to Inaba. 
Day after day he would go out and sit on the shore and look 
longingly over the water in the direction of Inaba, and day 
after day he hoped to find some way of getting across. 

One day as usual, the hare was standing on the beach, 
looking towards the mainland across the water, when he saw 
a great crocodile swimming near the island. 

"This is very lucky !' thought the hare. "Now I shall 
be able to get my wish. I will ask the crocodile to carry me 
across the sea ! " 

But he was doubtful whether the crocodile would consent 
to do what he asked, so he thought instead of asking a favour 
he would try to get what he wanted by a trick. 

So with a loud voice he called to the crocodile, and said : 

" Oh, Mr. Crocodile, isn't it a lovely day ? " 

The crocodile, who had come out all by itself that day to 
enjoy the bright sunshine, was just beginning to feel a bit lonely 
when the hare's cheerful greeting broke the silence. The croco- 
dile swam nearer the shore, very pleased to hear someone speak. 

The White Hare and the Crocodiles. 215 

" I wonder who it was that spoke to me just now ! Was 
it you, Mr. Hare ? You must be very lonely all by yourself!" 

" Oh, no, I am not at all lonely," said the hare, " but as it 
was such a fine day I came out here to enjoy myself. Won't 
you stop and play with me a little while ? ' 

The crocodile came out of the sea and sat on the shore, 
and the two played together for some time. Then the hare 
said : 

" Mr. Crocodile, you live in the sea and I live on this 
island, and we do not often meet, so I know very little about 
you. Tell me, do you think the number of your company is 
greater than mine ? " 

11 Of course, there are more crocodiles than hares," 
answered the crocodile. " Can you not see that for yourself? 
You live on this small island, while I live in the sea, which 
spreads through all parts of the world, so if I call together all 
the crocodiles who dwell in the sea you hares will be as nothing 
compared to us ! ' The crocodile was very conceited. 

The hare, who meant to play a trick on the crocodile, 
said : 

" Do you think it possible for you to call up enough croco- 
diles to form a line from this island across the sea to Inaba ? " 

The crocodile thought for a moment, and then answered : 

" Of course, it is possible." 

" Then do try," said the artful hare, "and I will count the 
number from here ! " 

The crocodile, who was very simple-minded, and who 
hadn't the least idea that the hare intended to play a trick on 
him, agreed to do what the hare asked, and said : 

216 Japanese Fairy Book. 

" Wait a little while I go back into the sea and call my 
company together ! ' 

The crocodile plunged into the sea and was gone for some 
time. The hare, meanwhile, waited patiently on the shore. 
At last the crocodile appeared, bringing with him a large 
number of other crocodiles. 

" Look, Mr. Hare ! " said the crocodile, " it is nothing for 
my friends to form a line between here and Inaba. There are 
enough crocodiles to stretch from here even as far as China or 
India. Did you ever see so many crocodiles ? ' 

Then the whole company of crocodiles arranged themselves 
in the water so as to form a bridge between the island of Oki 
and the mainland of Inaba. When the hare saw the bridge of 
crocodiles, he said : 

" How splendid ! I did not believe this was possible. Now 
let me count you all ! To do this, however, with your per- 
mission, I must walk over on your backs to the other side, so 
please be so good as not to move, or else I shall fall into the 
sea and be drowned ! " 

So the hare hopped off the island on to the strange bridge 
of crocodiles, counting as he jumped from one crocodile's back 
to the other : 

" Please keep quite still, or I shall not be able to count. 
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine " 

Thus the cunning hare walked right across to the main- 
land of Inaba. Not content with getting his wish, he began 
to jeer at the crocodiles instead of thanking them, and said, as 
he leapt off the last one's back : 

" Oh ! you stupid crocodiles, now I have done with you ! ' 

The White Hare and the Crocodiles. 


And he was just about to run away as fast as he could. 
But he did not escape so easily, for as soon as the 
crocodiles understood that this was a trick played upon them 
by the hare so as to enable him to cross the sea, and that 
the hare was now laughing at them for their stupidity, 
they became furiously angry and made up their minds to 

g^ S5^^3$J^8|^ 

Some of the Crocodiles ran after the Hare and caught him. 

take revenge. So some of them ran after the hare and caught 
him. Then they all surrounded the poor little animal and 
pulled out all his fur. He cried out loudly and entreated 
them to spare him, but with each tuft of fur they pulled out, 
they said : 

" Serve you right ! " 

When the crocodiles had pulled out the last bit of fur, they 

218 Japanese Fairy Book. 

threw the poor hare on the beach, and all swam away laughing 
at what they had done. 

The hare was now in a pitiful plight, all his beautiful 
white fur had been pulled out, and his bare little body was 
quivering with pain and bleeding all over. He could hardly 
move, and all he could do was to lie on the beach quite 
helpless and weep over the misfortune that had befallen him. 
Notwithstanding that it was his own fault that had brought all 
this misery and suffering upon the white hare of Inaba, 
anyone seeing the poor little creature could not help feeling 
sorry for him in his sad condition, for the crocodiles had been 


very cruel in their revenge. 

Just at this time a number of men, who looked like King's 
sons, happened to pass by, and seeing the hare lying on the 
beach crying, stopped and asked what was the matter. 

The hare lifted up his head from between his paws, and 
answered them, saying : 

" I had a fight with some crocodiles, but I was beaten, and 
they pulled out all my fur and left me to suffer here that is 
why I am crying." 

Now one of these young men had a bad and spiteful 
disposition. But he feigned kindness, and said to the 

" I feel very sorry for you. If you will only try it, I know 
of a remedy which will cure your sore body. Go and bathe 
yourself in the sea, and then come and sit in the wind. This 
will make your fur grow again, and you will be just as you 
were before." 

Then all the young men passed on. The hare was very 

The White Hare and the Crocodiles. 


pleased, thinking that he had found a cure. He went and 
bathed in the sea and then came out and sat where the wind 
could blow upon him. 

This Man had a kind Heart and looked at the Hare very pityingly. 

But as the wind blew and dried him, his skin became drawn 
and hardened, and the salt increased the pain so much that he 
rolled on the sand in his agony and cried aloud. 

22O Japanese Fairy Book. 

Just then another King's son passed by, carrying a great 
bag on his back. He saw the hare, and stopped and asked 
why he was crying so loudly. 

But the poor hare, remembering that he had been deceived 
by one very like the man who now spoke to him, did not 
answer, but continued to cry. 

But this man had a kind heart, and looked at the hare very 
pityingly, and said : 

" You poor thing ! I see that your fur is all pulled out 
and that your skin is quite bare. Who can have treated you 
so cruelly ? ' 

When the hare heard these kind words he felt very grateful 
to the man, and encouraged by his gentle manner the hare told 
him all that had befallen him. The little animal hid nothing 
from his friend, but told him frankly how he had played a trick 
on the crocodiles and how he had come across the bridge they 
had made, thinking that he wished to count their number ; how 
he had jeered at them for their stupidity, and then how the 
crocodiles had revenged themselves on him. Then he went 
on to say how he had been deceived by a party of men who 
looked very like his kind friend ; and the hare ended his long 
tale of woe by begging the man to give him some medicine 
that would cure him and make his fur grow again. 

When the hare had finished his story, the man was full of 
pity towards him, and said : 

" I am very sorry for all you have suffered, but remember, 
it was only the consequence of the deceit you practised on the 

" I know," answered the sorrowful hare, u but I have 

The White Hare and the Crocodiles. 221 

repented and made up my mind never to use deceit again, so I 
beg you to show me how I may cure my sore body and make 
the fur grow again." 

" Then I will tell you of a good remedy," said the man. 
" First go and bathe well in that pond over there and try to 
wash all the salt from your body. Then pick some of those 
kaba flowers that are growing near the edge of the water, 
spread them on the ground and roll yourself on them. If you 
do this the pollen will cause your fur to grow again, and you 
will be quite well in a little while." 

The hare was very glad to be told what to do, so kindly. 
He crawled to the pond pointed out to him, bathed well in it, 
and then picked the kaba flowers growing near the water, and 
rolled himself on them. 

To his amazement, even while he was doing this, he saw his 
nice white fur growing again, the pain ceased, and he felt just 
as he had done before all his misfortunes. 

The hare was overjoyed at his quick recovery, and went 
hopping joyfully towards the young man who had so helped 
him, and kneeling down at his feet, said : 

" I cannot express my thanks for all you have done for me ! 
It is my earnest wish to do something for you in return. 
Please tell me who you are ? ' 

" I am no King's son as you think me. I am a fairy, and 
my name is Okuni-nushi-no-Mikoto," answered the man, "and 
those beings who passed here before me are my brothers. 
They have heard of a beautiful Princess called Yakami who 
lives in this province of Inaba, and they are on their way to> 
find her and to ask her to marry one of them. But on this 


Japanese Fairy Book. 

expedition I am only an attendant, so I am walking behind 
them with this great big bag on my back.' 


When the Princess had looked at the kind Brother's face she went straight 

up to him. 

The hare humbled himself before this great fairy Okuni- 
nushi-no-Mikoto, whom many in that part of the land 
worshipped as a god. 

The White Hare and the Crocodiles. 223 

" Oh, I did not know that you were Okuni-nushi-no-Mikoto. 
How kind you have been to me ! It is impossible to believe 
that that unkind fellow who sent me to bathe in the sea is one 
of your brothers. I am quite sure that the Princess, whom 
your brothers have gone to seek, will refuse to be the bride of 
any of them, and will prefer you for your goodness of heart. I 
am quite sure that you will win her heart without intending to 
do so, and she will ask to be your bride." 

Okuni-nushi-no-Mikoto took no notice of what the hare 
said, but bidding the little animal good-bye, went on his way 
quickly and soon overtook his brothers. He found them just 
entering the Princess's gate. 

Just as the hare had said, the Princess could not be per- 
suaded to become the bride of any of the brothers, but when 
she looked at the kind brother's face she went straight up to 
him and said : 

" To you I give myself," and so they were married. 

This is the end of the story. Okuni-nushi-no-Mikoto is 
worshipped by the people in some parts of Japan, as a god, and 
the hare has become famous as " The White Hare of Inaba." 
But what became of the crocodiles nobody knows. 



THE insignia of the great Japanese Empire is composed of 
three treasures which have been considered sacred, and guarded 
with jealous care from time immemorial. These are the Yatano- 
no-Kagami or the Mirror of Yata, the Yasakami-no-Magatama or 
the Jewel of Yasakami, and the Murakuino-no-Tsurugi or the 
Sword of Murakumo. 

Of these three treasures of the Empire, the sword of 
Murakumo, afterwards known as Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, or the 
, grass-cleaving sword, is considered the most precious and most 
highly to be honoured, for it is the symbol of strength to this 
nation of warriors and the talisman of invincibility for the 
Emperor, while he holds it sacred in the shrine of his ancestors. 

Nearly two thousand years ago this sword was kept at the 
shrines of Ite, the temples dedicated to the worship of Amate- 
rasu, the great and beautiful Sun Goddess from whom the 
Japanese Emperors are said to be descended. 

There is a story of knightly adventure and daring which 
explains why the name of the sword was changed from that of 
Murakumo to Kusanagi, which means grass cleaving. 

Once, many, many years ago, there was born a son to the 
Emperor Keiko, the twelfth in descent from the great Jimmu, 
the founder of the Japanese dynasty. This Prince was the 
second son of the Emperor Keiko, and he was named Yamato. 

The Story of Prince Yamato Take. 225 

From his childhood he proved himself to be of remarkable 
strength, wisdom and courage, and his father noticed with 
pride that he gave promise of great things, and he loved him 
even more than he did his elder son. 

Now when Prince Yamato had grown to manhood (in the 
olden days of Japanese history, a boy was considered to have 
reached man's estate at the early age of sixteen) the realm 
was much troubled by a band of outlaws whose chiefs were two 
brothers, Kumaso and Takeru. These rebels seemed to delight 
in rebelling against the King, in breaking the laws and defying 
all authority. 

At last King Reiko ordered his younger son Prince Yamato 
to subdue the brigands and, if possible, to rid the land of their 
evil lives. Prince Yamato was only sixteen years of age, he 
had but reached his manhood according to the law, yet though 
he was such a youth in years he possessed the dauntless spirit 
of a warrior of fuller age and knew not what fear was. Even 
then there was no man who could rival him for courage and 
bold deeds, and he received his father's command with great joy. 

He at once made ready to start, and great was the stir in 
the precincts of the Palace as he and his trusty followers 
gathered together and prepared for the expedition, and polished 
up their armour and donned it. Before he left his father's 
Court he went to pray at the shrines of Ise and to take leave of 
his aunt the Princess Yamato, for his heart was somewhat 
heavy at the thought of the dangers he had to face, and he 
felt that he needed the protection of his ancestress, Amaterasu, 
the Sun Goddess. The Princess his aunt came out to give 
him glad welcome, and congratulated him on being trusted 
F.B. Q 

226 Japanese Fairy Book. 

with so great a mission by his father the King. She then 
gave him one of her gorgeous robes as a keepsake to go with 
him and to bring him good luck, saying that it would surely 
be of service to him on this adventure. She then wished him 
all success in his undertaking and bade him good speed. 

The young Prince bowed low before his aunt, and received 
her gracious gift with much pleasure and many respectful bows. 

" I will now set out," said the Prince, and returning to the 
Palace he put himself at the head of his troops. Thus cheered 
by his aunt's blessing, he felt ready for all that might befall, 
and marching through the land he went down to the Southern 
Island of Kiushiu, the home of the brigands. 

Before many days had passed he reached the Southern 
Island, and then slowly but surely made his way to the head- 
quarters of the chiefs Kumaso and Takeru. He now met with 
great difficulties, for he found the country exceedingly wild and 
rough. The mountains were high and steep, the valleys dark 
and deep, and huge trees and boulders of rock blocked up the 
road and stopped the progress of his army. It was all but 
impossible to go on. 

Though the Prince was but a youth he had the wisdom of 
years, and, seeing that it was vain to try and lead his men 
further, he said to himself: 

" To attempt to fight a battle in this impassable country 
unknown to my men only rnakes my task harder. We cannot 
clear the roads and fight as well. It is wiser for me to resort 
to stratagem and come upon my enemies unawares. In that 
way I may be able to kill them without much exertion." 

So he now bade his army halt by the way. His wife, 

The Story of Prince Yamato Take. 227 

the Princess Ototachibana, had accompanied him,' and he bade 
her bring him the robe his aunt the priestess of Ise had given 
him, and to help him attire himself as a woman. With her 
help he put on the robe, and let his hair down till it flowed over 
his shoulders. Ototachibana then brought him her comb, which 
he put in his black tresses, and then adorned himself with 
strings of strange jewels just as you see in the picture. When 
he had finished his unusual toilet, Ototachibana brought him 
her mirror. He smiled as he gazed at himself the disguise 
was so perfect. 

He hardly knew himself, so changed was he. All traces of 
the warrior had disappeared, and in the shining surface only 
a beautiful lady looked back at him. 

Thus completely disguised, he set out for the enemy's camp 
alone. In the folds of his silk gown, next his strong heart, was 
hidden a sharp dagger. 

The two chiefs Kumaso and Takeru were sitting in their 
tent, resting in the cool of the evening, when the Prince 
approached. They were talking of the news which had 
recently been carried to them, that the King's son had entered 
their country with a large army determined to exterminate 
their band. They had both heard of the young warrior's 
renown, and for the first time in their wicked lives they felt 
afraid. In a pause in their talk they happened to look up, and 
saw through the door of the tent a beautiful woman robed in 
sumptuous garments coming towards them. Like an appari- 
tion of loveliness she appeared in the soft twilight. Little did 
they dream that it was their enemy whose coming they so 

dreaded who now stood before them in this disguise. 

Q 2 

228 Japanese Fairy Book. 

" What a beautiful woman ! Where has she come from ? " 
said the astonished Kumaso, forgetting war and council and 
everything as he looked at the gentle intruder. 

He beckoned to the disguised Prince and bade him sit down 
and serve them with wine. Yamato Take felt his heart swell 
with a fierce glee for he now knew that his plan would succeed. 
However, he dissembled cleverly, and putting on a sweet air of 
shyness he approached the rebel chief with slow steps and eyes 
glancing like a frightened deer. Charmed to distraction by the 
girl's loveliness, Kumaso drank cup after cup of wine for the 
pleasure of seeing her pour it out for him, till at last he was 
quite overcome with the quantity he had drunk. 

This was the moment for which the brave Prince had been 
waiting. Flinging down the wine jar, he seized the tipsy and 
astonished Kumaso and quickly stabbed him to death with the 
dagger which he had secretly carried hidden in his breast. 

Takeru, the brigand's brother, was terror-struck as soon as 
he saw what was happening and tried to escape, but Prince 
Yamato was too quick for him. Ere he could reach the tent 
door the Prince was at his heel, his garments were clutched by 
a hand of iron, and a dagger flashed before his eyes and he lay 
stabbed to the earth, dying but not yet dead. 

"Wait one moment!" gasped the brigand painfully, and 
he seized the Prince's hand. 

Yamato relaxed his hold somewhat and said : 

" Why should I pause, thou villain ? ' 

The brigand raised himself fearfully and said : 

" Tell me from whence you come, and whom I have the 
honour of addressing ? Hitherto I believed that my dead 

The Story of Prince Yamato Take. 229 

brother and I were the strongest men in the land, and that 
there was no one who could overcome us. Alone you have 
ventured into our stronghold, alone you have attacked and 
killed us ! Surely you are more than mortal ? " 

Then the young Prince answered with a proud smile : 
" I am the son of the King and my name is Yamato, and I 
have been sent by my father as the avenger of evil to bring 
death to all rebels ! No longer shall robbery and murder 
hold my people in terror ! " and he held the dagger dripping 
red above the rebel's head. 

"Ah," gasped the dying man with a great effort, "I 
have often heard of you. You are indeed a strong man 
to have so easily overcome us. Allow me to give you a 
new name. From henceforth you shall be known as Yamato 
Take. Our title I bequeath to you as the bravest man in 

And with these noble words, Takeru fell back and died. 

The Prince having thus successfully put an end to his father's 
enemies in the West, now prepared to return to the capital. 
On the way back he passed through the province of Idzumo. 
Here he met with another outlaw named Idzumo Takeru 
who he knew had done much harm in the land. He again 
resorted to stratagem, and feigned friendship with the rebel 
under an assumed name. Having done this he made a sword 
of wood and jammed it tightly in the sheath of his own steel 
sword. This he purposely buckled to his side and wore on 
every occasion when he expected to meet the third robber 

He now invited Takeru to the bank of the River Hinokawa, 


Japanese Fairy Book. 

A Dagger flashed before his Eyes. 

The Story of Prince Yamato Take. 231 

and persuaded him to try a swim with him in the cool refreshing 
waters of the river. 

As it was a hot summer's day, the rebel was nothing 
loth to take a plunge in the river. While his enemy was 
still swimming down the stream the Prince turned back 
and landed with all possible haste. Unperceived, he managed 
to change swords, putting his wooden one in place of the keen 
steel sword of Takeru. 

Knowing nothing of this, the brigand came up to the bank 
shortly. As soon as he had landed and donned his clothes, the 
Prince came forward and asked him to cross swords with him 
to prove his skill, saying : 

" Let us two prove which is the better swordsman of 
the two ! " 

The robber agreed with delight, feeling certain of victory, 
for he was famous as a fencer in his province and he did not 
know who his adversary was. He seized quickly what he 
thought was his sword and stood on guard to defend himself. 
Alas ! for the rebel, the sword was the wooden one of the 
young Prince, and in vain Takeru tried to unsheathe it it was 
jammed fast, not all his exerted strength could move it. 
Even if his efforts had been successful the sword would have 
been of no use to him for it was of wood. Yamato Take saw 
that his enemy was in his power, and swinging high the sword 
he had taken from Takeru he brought it down with great might 
and dexterity and cut off the robber's head. 

In this way, sometimes by using his wisdom and sometimes 
by using his bodily strength, and at other times by resorting to 
craftiness, which was as much esteemed in those days as it 

232 Japanese Fairy Book. 

is despised in these, he prevailed against all the King's foes 
one by one, and brought peace and rest to the land and the 

When he returned to the capital the King praised him for 
his brave deeds, and held a feast in the Palace in honour of 
his safe coming home and presented him with many rare gifts. 
From this time forth the King loved him more than ever and 
would not let Yamato Take go from his side, for he said that 
his son was now as precious to him as one of his arms. 

But the Prince was not allowed to live an idle life long. 
When he was about thirty years old, news was brought that 
the Ainu race, the aborigines of the islands of Japan, who had 
been conquered and pushed northwards by the Japanese, had 
rebelled in the Eastern provinces, and leaving the vicinity which 
had been allotted to them were causing great trouble in the 
land. The King decided that it was necessary to send an army 
to do battle with them and bring them to reason. But who 
was to lead the men ? 

Prince Yamato Take at once offered to go and bring the 
newly-arisen rebels into subjection. Now as the King loved 
the Prince dearly, and could not bear to have him go out of his 
sight even for the length of one day, he was of course very 
loth to send him on his dangerous expedition. But in the 
whole army there was no warrior so strong or so brave as the 
Prince his son, so that His Majesty, unable to do otherwise, 
reluctantly complied with Yamato's wish. 

When the time came for the Prince to start, the King gave 
him a spear called the Eight-Arms-Length-Spear of the Holly 
Tree (the handle was probably made from the wood of the holly 

The Story of Prince Yamato Take. 233 

tree), and ordered him to set out to subjugate the Eastern 
Barbarians as the Ainu were then called. 

The Eight-Arms-Length-Spear of the Holly Tree of those 
old days, was prized by warriors just as much as the Standard 
or Banner is valued by a regiment in these modern days, 
when given by the King to his soldiers on the occasion of setting 
out for war. 

The Prince respectfully and with great reverence received 
the King's spear, and leaving the capital, marched with his 
army to the East. On his way he visited first of all the temples 
of Ise for worship, and his aunt the Princess of Yamato and 
High Priestess came out to greet him. She it was who had 
given him her robe which had proved such a boon to him before 
in helping him to overcome and slay the brigands of the West. 

He told her all that had happened to him, and of the great 
part her keepsake had played in the success of his previous 
undertaking, and thanked her very heartily. When she heard 
that he was starting out once again to do battle with his father's 
enemies, she went into the temple, and reappeared bearing a 
sword and a beautiful bag which she had made herself, and 
which was full of flints, which in those times people used 
instead of matches for making fire. These she presented to 
him as a parting gift. 

The sword was the sword of Murakumo, one of the three 
sacred treasures which comprise the insignia of the Imperial 
House of Japan. No more auspicious talisman of luck and 
success could she have given her nephew, and she bade him use 
it in the hour of his greatest need. 

Yamato Take now bade farewell to his aunt, and once more 

234 Japanese Fairy Book. 

placing himself at the head of his men he marched to the 
farthest East through the province of Chvari, and then he 
reached the province of Suruga. Here the governor welcomed 
the Prince right heartily, and entertained him royally with 
many feasts. When these were over, the governor told his 
guest that his country was famous for its fine deer, and 
proposed a deer hunt for the Prince's amusement. The Prince 
was utterly deceived by the cordiality of his host, which was all' 
feigned, and gladly consented to join in the hunt. 

The governor then led the Prince to a wild and extensive 
plain where the grass grew high and in great abundance. 
Quite ignorant that the governor had laid a trap for him with 
the desire to compass his death, the Prince began to ride hard 
and hunt down the deer, when all of a sudden to his amaze- 
ment he saw flames and smoke bursting out from the bush in 
front of him. Realising his danger he tried to retreat, but no 
sooner did he turn his horse in the opposite direction than he 
saw that even there the prairie was on fire. At the same 
time the grass on his left and right burst into flames, and 
these began to spread swiftly towards him on all sides. He 
looked round for a chance of escape. There was none. He 
was surrounded by fire. 

11 This deer hunt was then only a cunning trick of the 
enemy ! " said the Prince, looking round on the flames and the 
smoke that crackled and rolled in towards him on every side. 
"What a fool I was to be lured into this trap ,like a wild 
beast ! " and he ground his teeth with rage as he thought of 
the governor's smiling treachery. 

Dangerous as was his situation now, the Prince was not in 

The Story of Prince Yamato Take. 235 

the least confounded. In his dire extremity he remembered 
the gitts his aunt had given him when they parted, and it 
seemed to him as if she must, with prophetic foresight, have 
divined this hour of need. He coolly opened the flint-bag that 
his aunt had given him and set fire to the grass near him. 
Then drawing the sword of Murakumo from its sheath he set 
to work to cut down the grass on either side of him with all 
speed. He determined to die, if that were necessary, fighting for 
his life and not standing still waiting for death to come to him. 

Strange to say the wind began to change and to blow from the 
opposite direction, and the fiercest portion of the burning bush 
which had hitherto threatened to come upon him was now 
blown right away from him, and the Prince, without even 
a scratch on his body or a single hair burned, lived to tell the 
tale of his wonderful escape, while the wind rising to a gale 
overtook the governor, and he was burned to death in the flames 
he had set alight to kill Yamato Take. 

Now the Prince ascribed his escape entirely to the virtue of 
the sword of Murakumo, and to the protection of Amaterasu, 
the Sun Goddess of Ise, who controls the wind and all the 
elements and ensures the safety of all who pray to her in the 
hour of danger. Lifting the precious sword he raised it above 
his head many times in token of his great respect, and as he did 
this he re-named it Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi or the Grass-Cleaving 
Sword, and the place where he set fire to the grass round him 
and escaped from death in the burning prairie, he called Yaidzu. 
To this day there is a spot along the great Tokaido railway 
named Yaidzu, which is said to be the very place where this 
thrilling event took place. 

236 Japanese Fairy Book. 

Thus did the brave Prince Yamato Take escape out of the 
snare laid for him by his enemy. He was full of resource 
and courage, and finally outwitted and subdued all his foes. 
Leaving Yaidzu he marched eastward, and came to the shore at 
Idzu from whence he wished to cross to Kadzusa. 

In these dangers and adventures he had been followed 
by his faithful loving wife the Princess Ototachibana. For 
his sake she counted the weariness of the long journeys and 
the dangers of war as nothing, and her love for her warrior 
husband was so great that she felt well repaid for all her 
wanderings if she could but hand him his sword when he sallied 
forth to battle, or minister to his wants when he returned weary 
to the camp. 

But the heart of the Prince was full of war and conquest 
and he cared little for the faithful Ototachibana. From long 
exposure in travelling, and from care and grief at her lord's 
coldness to her, her beauty had faded, and her ivory skin 
was burnt brown by the sun, and the Prince told her one 
day that her place was in the Palace behind the screens 
at home and not with him upon the warpath. But in spite 
of rebuffs and indifference on her husband's part, Ototachibana 
could not find it in her heart to leave him. But perhaps 
it would have been better for her if she had done so, for on the 
way to Idzu, when they came to Owari, her heart was well 
nigh broken. 

Here dwelt in a Palace shaded by pine-trees and approached 
by imposing gates, the Princess Miyadzu, beautiful as the 
cherry blossom in the blushing dawn of a spring morning. 
Her garments were dainty and bright, and her skin was white 

The Story of Prince Yamato Take. 237 

as snow, for she had never known what it was to be weary 
along the path of duty or to walk in the heat of a summer's 
sun. And the Prince was ashamed of his sunburnt wife in her 
travel-stained garments, and bade her remain behind while he 
went to visit the Princess Miyadzu. Day after day he spent 
hours in the gardens and the Palace of his new friend, thinking 
only of his pleasure, and caring little for his poor wife who 
remained behind to weep in the tent at the misery which had 
come into her life. Yet she was so faithful a wife, and her 
character so patient, that she never allowed a reproach to 
escape her lips, or a frown to mar the sweet sadness of her face, 
and she was ever ready with a smile to welcome her husband 
back or usher him forth wherever he went. 

At last the day came when the Prince Yamato Take must 
depart for Idzu and cross over the sea to Kadzusa, and he bade 
his wife follow in his retinue as an attendant while he went to 
take a ceremonious farewell of the Princess Miyadzu. She 
came out to greet him dressed in gorgeous robes, and she 
seemed more beautiful than ever, and when Yamato Take saw 
her he forgot his wife, his duty, and everything except the joy of 
the idle present, and swore that he would return to Owari and 
marry her when the war was over. And as he looked up when 
he had said these words he met the large almond eyes oi 
Ototachibana fixed full upon him in unspeakable sadness and 
wonder, and he knew that he had done wrong, but he hardened 
his heart and rode on, caring little for the pain he had caused 

When they reached the seashore at Idzu his men sought 
for boats in which to cross the straits to Kadzusa, but it was 

238 Japanese Fairy Book. 

difficult to find boats enough to allow all the soldiers to embark. 
Then the Prince stood on the beach, and in the pride of his 
strength he scoffed and said : 

" This is not the sea ! This is only a brook ! Why do 
you men want so many boats? I could jump this if I 

When at last they had all embarked and were fairly on their 
way across the straits, the sky suddenly clouded and a great storm 
arose. The waves rose mountains high, the wind howled, the 
lightning flashed and the thunder rolled, and the boat which 
held Ototachibanaand the Prince and his men was tossed from 
crest to crest of the rolling waves, till it seemed that every 
moment must be their last and that they must all be swallowed 
up in the angry sea. For Rin Jin, the Dragon King of the Sea, 
had heard Yamato Take jeer, and had raised this terrible storm 
in anger, to show the scoffing Prince how awful the sea could 
be though it did but look like a brook. 

The terrified crew lowered the sails and looked after the 
rudder, and worked for their dear lives' sake, but all in vain 
the storm only seemed to increase in violence, and all gave 
themselves up for lost. Then the faithful Ototachibana rose, 
.and forgetting all the grief that her husband had caused her, 
forgetting even that he had wearied of her, in the one great 
desire of her love to save him, she determined to sacrifice her 
life to rescue him from death if it were possible. 

While the waves dashed over the ship and the wind whirled 
iround them in fury she stood up and said : 

" Surely all this has come because the Prince has 
angered Rin Jin, the God of the Sea, by his jesting. If so, 

The Story of Prince Yamato Take. 239 

I, Ototachibana, will appease the wrath of the Sea God 
who desires nothing less than my husband's life ! ' 

Then addressing the sea she said : 

" I will take the place of His Augustness, Yamato Take. 
I will now cast myself into your outraged depths, giving my 
life for his. Therefore hear me and bring him safely to the 
shore of Kadzusa." 

With these words she leaped quickly into the boisterous 
sea, and the waves soon whirled her away and she was lost to 
sight. Strange to say, the storm ceased at once, and the sea 
became as calm and smooth as the matting on which the 
astonished onlookers were sitting. The gods of the sea were 
now appeased, and the weather cleared and the sun shone as 
on a summer's day. 

Yamato Take soon reached the opposite shore and landed 
safely, even as his wife Ototachibana had prayed. His prowess 
in war was marvellous, and he succeeded after some time in 
conquering the Eastern Barbarians, the Ainu. 

He ascribed his safe landing wholly to the faithfulness of 
his wife, who had so willingly and lovingly sacrificed herself in 
the hour of his utmost peril. His heart was softened at the 
remembrance of her, and he never allowed her to pass from his 
thoughts even for a moment. Too late had he learned to 
esteem the goodness of her heart and the greatness of her love 
for him. 

As he was returning on his homeward way he came to the 
high pass of the Usui Toge, and here he stood and gazed at the 
wonderful prospect beneath him. The country, from this great 
elevation, all lay open to his sight, a vast panorama of mountain 

240 Japanese Fairy Book. 

and plain and forest, with rivers winding like silver ribbons 
through the land ; then far off he saw the distant sea, which 
shimmered like a luminous mist in the great distance, where 
Ototachibana had given her life for him, and as he turned 
towards it he stretched out his arms, and thinking of her love 
which he had scorned and his faithlessness to her, his heart 
burst out into a sorrowful and bitter cry : 

" Azuma, Azuma, Ya ! ' (Oh! my wife, my wife!) And 
to this day there is a district in Tokio called Azuma, which 
commemorates the words of Prince Yamato Take, and the 
place where his faithful wife leapt into the sea to save him is 
still pointed out. So, though in life the Princess Ototachi- 
bana was unhappy, history keeps her memory green, and 
the story of her unselfishness and heroic death will never 
pass away. 

Yamato Take had now fulfilled all his father's orders, he 
had subdued all rebels, and rid the land of all robbers and 
enemies to the peace, and his renown was great, for in the 
whole land there was no one who could stand up against him, 
he was so strong in battle and wise in council. 

He was about to return straight for home by the way he 
had come, when the thought struck him that he would find 
it more interesting to take another route, so he passed through 
the province of Owari and came to the province of Omi. 

When the Prince reached Omi he found the people in a 
state of great excitement and fear. In many houses as he 
passed along he saw the signs of mourning and heard loud 
lamentations. On inquiring the cause of this he was told that 
a terrible monster had appeared in the mountains, who daily 

The Story of Prince Yamato Take. 


came down from thence and made raids on the villages, 
devouring whoever he could seize. Many homes had been 

A Monster Serpent appeared. 

made desolate and the men were afraid to go out to their daily 
work in the fields, or the women to go to the rivers to wash 
their rice. 

F.B. R 

242 Japanese Fairy Book. 

When Yamato Take heard this his wrath was kindled, and 
he said fiercely : 

" From the western end of Kiushiu to the eastern corner 
of Yezo I have subdued all the King's enemies there is no one 
who dares to break the laws or to rebel against the King. It 
is indeed a matter for wonder that here in this place, so near 
the capital, a wicked monster has dared to take up its abode 
and be the terror of the King's subjects. Not long shall it find 
pleasure in devouring innocent folk. I will start out and kill 
it at once." 

With these words he set out for the Ibuki Mountain, where 
the monster was said to live. He climbed up a good distance, 
when all of a sudden, at a winding in the path, a monster serpent 
appeared before him and stopped the way. 

u This must be the monster," said the Prince ; "I do not 
need my sword for a serpent. I can kill him with my hands." 

He thereupon sprang upon the serpent and tried to strangle 
it to death with his bare arms. It was not long before his pro- 
digious strength gained the mastery and the serpent lay dead at 
his feet. Now a sudden darkness came over the mountain and 
rain began to fall, so that for the gloom and the rain the Prince 
could hardly see which way to take. In a short time, however, 
while he was groping his way down the pass, the weather 
cleared, and our brave hero was able to make his way quickly 
down the mountain. 

When he got back he began to feel ill and to have 
burning pains in his feet, so he knew that the serpent had 
poisoned him. So great was his suffering that he could hardly, 
move, much less walk, so he had himself carried to a place in 

The Story of Prince Yamato Take. 243 

the mountains famous for its hot mineral springs, which rose 
bubbling out of the earth, and almost boiling from the 
volcanic fires beneath. 

Yamato Take bathed daily in these waters, and gradually 
he felt his strength come again, and the pains left him, till at 
last one day he found with great joy that he was quite recovered. 
He now hastened to the temples of Ise, where you will remem- 
ber that he prayed before undertaking this long expedition. 
His aunt, priestess of the shrine, who had blessed him on his 
setting out, now came to welcome him back. He told her of 
the many dangers he had encountered and of how marvellously 
his life had been preserved through all and she praised his 
courage and his warrior's prowess, and then putting on her 
most magnificent robes she returned thanks to their ancestress 
the Sun Goddess Amaterasu, to whose protection they both 
ascribed the Prince's wonderful preservation. 

Here ends the story of Prince Yamato Take of Japan. 

F 2 




LONG, long ago there lived an old man and an old woman; 
they were peasants, and had to work hard to earn their daily 
rice. The old man used to go and cut grass for the farmers 
around, and while he was gone the old woman, his wife, did the 
work of the house and worked in their own little rice field. 

One day the old man went to the hills as usual to cut grass 
and the old woman took some clothes to the river to wash. 

It was nearly summer, and the country was very beautiful 
to see in its fresh greenness as the two old people went on 
their way to work. The grass on the banks of the river looked 
like emerald velvet, and the pussy willows along the edge of 
the water were shaking out their soft tassels. 

The breezes blew and ruffled the smooth surface of the 
water into wavelets, and passing on touched the cheeks of the 
old couple who, for some reason they could not explain, felt 
very happy that morning. 

The old woman at last found a nice spot by the river bank 
and put her basket down. Then she set to work to wash the 
clothes ; she took them one by one out of the basket and 
washed them in the river and rubbed them on the stones. The 
water was as clear as crystal, and she could see the tiny fish 
swimming to and fro, and the pebbles at the bottom. 

Momotaro, or the Story of the Son of a Peach. 245 

As she was busy washing her clothes a great peach came 
bumping down the stream. The old woman looked up from 

She set to Work to Wash the Clothes. 

her work and saw this large peach. She was sixty years ot age, 
yet in all her life she had never seen such a big peach as this. 

" How delicious that peach must be ! " she said to herself. 
" I must certainly get it and take it home to my old man." 

She stretched out her arm to try and get it, but it was 
quite out of her reach. She looked about for a stick, but there 

246 Japanese Fairy Book. 

was not one to be seen, and if she went to look for one she 
would lose the peach. 

Stopping a moment to think what she would do, she 
remembered an old charm-verse. Now she began to clap her 
hands to keep time to the rolling of the peach down stream, 
and while she clapped she sang this song : 

" Distant water is bitter, 
The near water is sweet ; 
Pass by the distant water 
And come into the sweet." 

Strange to say, as soon as she began to repeat this little 
song the peach began to come nearer and nearer the bank 
where the old woman was standing, till at last it stopped just 
in front of her so that she was able to take it up in her hands. 
The old woman was delighted. She could not go on with her 
work, so happy and excited was she, so she put all the clothes 
back in her bamboo basket, and with the basket on her back 
and the peach in her hand she hurried homewards. 

It seemed a very long time to her to wait till her husband 
returned. The old man at last came back as the sun was 
setting, with a big bundle of grass on his back so big that he 
was almost hidden and she could hardly see him. He seemed 
very tired and used the scythe for a walking stick, leaning on it 
as he walked along. 

As soon as the old woman saw him she called out : 

" O JiiSan! (old man) I have been waiting for you to come 
home for such a long time to-day ! ' 

" What is the matter ? Why are you so impatient?" asked 
the old man, wondering at her unusual eagerness. " Has 
anything happened while I have been away ? " 

Momotaro, or the Story of the Son of a Peach. 247 

" Oh, no ! " answered the old woman, " nothing has 
happened, only I have found a nice present for you ! " 

The Peach split in Two of itself. 

" That is good," said the old man. He then washed his 
feet in a basin of water and stepped up to the verandah. 

The old woman now ran into the little room and brought 

248 Japanese Fairy Book. 

out from the cupboard the big peach. It felt even heavier 
than before. She held it up to him, saying: 

" Just look at this ! Did you ever see such a large peach 
in all your life ? ' 

When the old man looked at the peach he was greatly 
astonished and said : 

" This is indeed the largest peach I have ever seen ! 
Wherever did you buy it ? ' 

" I did not buy it," answered the old woman. " I found it 
in the river where I was washing." And she told him the whole 

" I am very glad that you have found it. Let us eat it 
now, for I am hungry," said the O Jii San. 

He brought out the kitchen knife, and, placing the peach 
on a board, was about to cut it when, wonderful to tell, the 
peach split in two of itself and a clear voice said : 

" Waitabit, old man!" and out stepped a beautiful little child. 

The old man and his wife were both so astonished at what 
they saw that they fell to the ground. The child spoke 
again : 

" Don't be afraid. I am no demon or fairy. I will tell 
you the truth. Heaven has had compassion on you. Every 
day and every night you have lamented that you had no child. 
Your cry has been heard and I am sent to be the son of your 
old age ! " 

On hearing this the old man and his wife were very happy. 
They had cried night and day for sorrow at having no child to 
help them in their lonely old age, and now that their prayer 
was answered they were so lost with joy that they did not 

Momotaro, or the Story of the Son of a Peach. 249 

know where to put their hands or their feet. First the old 
man took the child up in his arms, and then the old woman 
did the same ; and they named him Momotaro, or Son of a 
Peach, because he had come out of a peach. 

The years passed quickly by and the child grew to be fifteen 
years of age. He was taller and far stronger than any other 
boys of his own age, he had a handsome face and a heart full 
of courage, and he was very wise for his years. The old 
couple's pleasure was very great when they looked at him, for 
he was just what they thought a hero ought to be like. 

One day Momotaro came to his foster-father and said 
solemnly : 

"Father, by a strange chance we have become father and 
son. Your goodness to me has been higher than the mountain 
grasses which it was your daily work to cut, and deeper than 
the river where my mother washes the clothes. I do not know 
how to thank you enough." 

" Why," answered the old man, " it is a matter of course 
that a father should bring up his son. When you are older it 
will be your turn to take care of us, so after all there will be 
no profit or loss between us all will be equal. Indeed, I am 
rather surprised that you should thank me in this way! " and 
the old man looked bothered. 

" I hope you will be patient with me," said Momotaro ; 
" but before I begin to pay back your goodness to me I have a 
request to make which I hope you will grant me above 
everything else." 

"I will let you do whatever you wish, for you are quite 
different to all other boys ! ' 

250 Japanese Fairy Book. 


" Then let me go away at once ! 

" What do you say ? Do you \vish to leave your old father 
and mother and go away from your old home ? " 

" I will surely come back again, if you let me go now ! " 

" Where are you going ? ' 

" You must think it strange that I want to go away," said 
Momotaro, " because I have not yet told you my reason. Far 
away from here to the north-east of Japan there is an island in 
the sea. This island is the stronghold of a band of devils. I 
have often heard how they invade this land, kill and rob the 
people, and carry off all they can find. They are not only very 
wicked but they are disloyal to our Emperor and disobey his 
laws. They are also cannibals, for they kill and eat some of 
the poor people who are so unfortunate as to fall into their 
hands. These devils are very hateful beings. I must go and 
conquer them and bring back all the plunder of which they 
have robbed this land. It is for this reason that I want to go 
away for a short time ! " 

The old man was much surprised at hearing all this from a 
mere boy of fifteen. He thought it best to let the boy go. He 
was strong and fearless, and besides all this, the old man knew 
he was no common child, for he had been sent to them as a 
gift from Heaven, and he felt quite sure that the devils would 
be powerless to harm him. 

" All you say is very interesting, Momotaro," said the old 
man. " I will not hinder you in your determination. You 
may go if you wish. Go to the island as soon as ever you like 
and destroy the demons and bring peace to the land." 

" Thank you, for all your kindness," said Momotaro, who 

Momotaro, or the Story of the Son of a Peach. 251 

began to get ready to go that very day. He was full of 
courage and did not know what fear was. 

The old man and woman at once set to work to pound rice 
in the kitchen mortar to make cakes for Momotaro to take with 
him on his journey. 

At last the cakes were made and Momotaro ready to start 
on his long journey. 

Parting is always sad. So it was now. The eyes of the 
two old people were filled with tears and their voices trembled 
as they said : 

" Go with all care and speed. We expect you back 
victorious ! ' 

Momotaro was very sorry to leave his old parents, (though 
he knew he was coming back as soon as he could) for he thought 
of how lonely they would be while he was away. But he said 
" Good-bye ! " quite bravely. 

" I am going now. Take good care of yourselves while I 
am away. Good-bye ! " And he stepped quickly out of the 
house. In silence the eyes of Momotaro and his parents met 
in farewell. 

Momotaro now hurried on his way till it was midday. He 
began to feel hungry, so he opened his bag and took out one 
of the rice-cakes and sat down under a tree by the side of the 
road to eat it. While he was thus having his lunch a dog 
almost as large as a colt came running out from the high 
grass. He made straight for Momotaro, and showing his 
teeth, said in a fierce way: 

" You are a rude man to pass my field without asking 
permission first. If you leave me all the cakes you have 

252 Japanese Fairy Book. 

in your bag you may go ; otherwise I will bite you till I kill 
you ! " 

Momotaro only laughed scornfully : 

" What is that you are saying ? Do you know who I am ? 
I am Momotaro, and I am on my way to subdue the devils in 
their island stronghold in the north-east of Japan. If you try 
to stop me on my way there I will cut you in two from the 
head downwards ! ' 

The dog's manner at once changed. His tail dropped 
between his legs, and coming near he bowed so low that his 
forehead touched the ground. 

11 What do I hear ? The name of Momotaro ? Are you 
indeed Momotaro ? I have often heard of your great strength. 
Not knowing who you were I have behaved in a very stupid 
way. Will you please pardon my rudeness ? Are you indeed 
on your way to invade the Island of Devils ? If you will take 
such a rude fellow with you as one of your followers, I shall be 
very grateful to you." 

11 I think I can take you with me if you wish to go," said 

"Thank you!" said the dog. " By the way, I am very 
very hungry. Will you give me one of the cakes you are 
carrying ? " 

" This is the best kind of cake there is in Japan," said 
Momotaro. " I cannot spare you a whole one ; I will give you 
half of one." 

" Thank you very much," said the dog, taking the piece 
thrown to him. 

Then Momotaro got up and the dog followed. For a long 

*Momotaro, or the Story of the Son of a Peach. 253 

time they walked over the hills and through the valleys. As 
they were going along an animal came down from a tree a 
little ahead of them. The creature soon came up to Momotaro 
and said: 

"Good morning, Momotaro! You are welcome in this 
part of the country. Will you allow me to go with you ? " 

The dog answered jealously : 

" Momotaro already has a dog to accompany him. Of 
what use is a monkey like you in battle ? We are on our way 
to fight the devils ! Get away ! " 

The dog and the monkey began to quarrel and bite, for 
these two animals always hate each other. 

" Now, don't quarrel ! " said Momotaro, putting himself 
between them. "Wait a moment, dog ! " 

" It is not at all dignified for you to have such a creature 
as that following you ! " said the dog. 

" What do you know about it ? " asked Momotaro ; and 
pushing aside the dog, he spoke to the monkey : 

" Who are you ? " 

" I am a monkey living in these hills," replied the monkey. 
" I heard of your expedition to the Island of Devils, and I have 
come to go with you. Nothing will please me more than to 
follow you ! " 

" Do you really wish to go to the Island of Devils and 
fight with me ?" 

" Yes, sir," replied the monkey. 

" I admire your courage," said Momotaro. " Here is a 
piece of one of my fine rice-cakes. Come along ! ' 

So the monkey joined Momotaro. The dog and the 

254 Japanese Fairy Book. 

monkey did not get on well together. They were always 
snapping at each other as they went along, and always 
wanting to have a fight. This made Momotaro very cross, 
and at last he'sent the dog on ahead with a flag and put the 
monkey behind with a sword, and he placed himself between 
them with a war-fan, which is made of iron. 

By-and-bye they came to a large field. Here a bird flew 
down and alighted on the ground just in front of the little 
party. It was the most beautiful bird Momotaro had ever seen. 
On its body were five different robes of feathers and its head 
was covered with a scarlet cap. 

The dog at once ran at the bird and tried to seize and kill 
it. But the bird struck out its spurs and flew at the dog's 
tail, and the fight went hard with both. 

Momotaro, as he looked on, could not help admiring the 
bird ; it showed so much spirit in the fight. It would certainly 
make a good fighter. 

Momotaro went up to the two combatants, and holding the 
dog back, said to the bird : 

"You rascal ! you are hindering my journey. Surrender at 
once, and I will take you with me. If you don't I will set this 
dog to bite your head off ! " 

Then the bird surrendered at once, and begged to be taken 
into Momotaro's company. 

" I do not know what excuse to offer for quarrelling with 
the dog, your servant, but I did not see you. I am a miserable 
bird called a pheasant. It is very generous of you to pardon 
my rudeness and to take me with you. Please allow me to 
follow you behind the dog and the monkey ! " 

Momotaro, or the Story of the Son of a Peach. 255 

" I congratulate you on surrendering so soon," said 
Momotaro, smiling. " Come and join us in our raid on the 

" Are you going to take this bird with you also ? " asked 
the dog, interrupting. 

" Why do you ask such an unnecessary question ? Didn't you 
hear what I said ? I take the bird with me because I wish to ! " 

" Humph ! " said the dog. 

Then Momotaro stood and gave this order : 

" Now all of you must listen to me. The first thing 
necessary in an army is harmony. It is a wise saying which 
says that ' Advantage on earth is better than advantage in 
Heaven ! ' Union amongst ourselves is better than any earthly 
gain. When we are not at peace amongst ourselves it is no 
easy thing to subdue an enemy. From now, you three, the 
dog, the monkey and the pheasant, must be friends with one 
mind. The one who first begins a quarrel will be discharged 
on the spot ! " 

All the three promised not to quarrel. The pheasant was 
now made a member of Momotaro's suite, and received half 
a cake. 

Momotaro's influence was so great that the three became 
good friends, and hurried onwards with him as their leader. 

Hurrying on day after day they at last came out upon the 
shore of the North-Eastern Sea. There was nothing to be 
seen as far as the horizon not a sign of any island. All that 
broke the stillness was the rolling of the waves upon the shore. 

Now, the dog and the monkey and the pheasant had come 
very bravely all the way through the long valleys and over the 

256 Japanese Fairy Book. 

hills, but they had never seen the sea before, and for the first 
time since they set out they were bewildered and gazed at 
each other in silence. How were they to cross the water and 
get to the Island of Devils ? 

Momotaro soon saw that they were daunted by the sight of 
the sea, and to try them he spoke loudly and roughly : 

" Why do you hesitate ? Are you afraid of the sea ? Oh ! 
what cowards you are ! It is impossible to take such weak 
creatures as you with me to fight the demons. It will be far 
better for me to go alone. I discharge you all at once ! " 

The three animals were taken aback at this sharp reproof, 
and clung to Momotaro's sleeve, begging him not to send 
them away. 

" Please, Momotaro ! " said the dog. 

" We have come thus far ! " said the monkey. 

" It is inhuman to leave us here ! " said the pheasant. 

" We are not at all afraid of the sea," said the monkey again. 

" Please do take us with you," said the pheasant. 

11 Do please," said the dog. 

They had now gained a little courage, so Momotaro said : 

" Well, then, I will take you with me, but be careful ! " 

Momotaro now got a small ship, and they all got on board. 
The wind and weather were fair, and the ship went like an 
arrow over the sea. It was the first time they had ever been 
on the water, and so at first the dog, the monkey and the 
pheasant were frightened at the waves and the rolling of the 
vessel, but by degrees they grew accustomed to the water and 
were quite happy again. Every day they paced the deck of 
their little ship, eagerly looking out for the demons' island. 

Momotaro, or the Story of the Son of a Peach. 257 

When they grew tired of this, they told each other stories of 
all their exploits of which they were proud, and then played 
games together ; and Momotaro found much to amuse him in 
listening to the three animals and watching their antics, and in 
this way he forgot that the way was long and that he was tired 
of the voyage and of doing nothing. He longed to be at 
work killing the monsters who had done so much harm in his 

As the wind blew in their favour and they met no storms the 
ship made a quick voyage, and one day when the sun was shining 
brightly a sight of land rewarded the tour watchers at the bow. 

Momotaro knew at once that what they saw was the devils' 
stronghold. On the top ot the precipitous shore, looking 
out to sea, was a large castle. Now that his enterprise 
was close at hand, he was deep in thought with his head 
leaning on his hands, wondering how he should begin the 
attack. His three followers watched him, waiting for orders. 
At last he called to the pheasant : 

" It is a great advantage for us to have you with us," said 
Momotaro to the bird, " for you have good wings. Fly at once 
to the castle and engage the demons to fight. We will follow 

The pheasant at once obeyed. He flew off from the ship 
beating the air gladly with his wings. The bird soon reached 
the island and took up his position on the roof in the middle of 
the castle, calling out loudly : 

" All you devils listen to me ! The great Japanese general 
Momotaro has come to fight you and to take your stronghold 
from you. If you wish to save your lives surrender at once, 
P.B. s 

258 Japanese Fairy Book. 

and in token of your submission you must break off the horns 
that grow on your forehead. If you do not surrender at 
once, but make up your mind to fight, we, the pheasant, the 
dog and the monkey, will kill you all by biting and tearing 
you to death ! ' 

The horned demons looking up and only seeing a pheasant, 
laughed and said : 


" A wild pheasant, indeed! It is ridiculous to hear such 
words from a mean thing like you. Wait till you get a blow 
from one of our iron bars ! ' 

Very angry, indeed, were the devils. They shook their 
horns and their shocks of red hair fiercely, and rushed to put 
on tiger skin trousers to make themselves look more terrible. 
They then brought out great iron bars and ran to where the 
pheasant perched over their heads, and tried to knock him 
down. The pheasant flew to one side to escape the blow, and 
then attacked the head of first one and then another demon. 
He flew round and round them, beating the air with his wings 
so fiercely and ceaselessly, that the devils began to wonder 
whether they had to fight one or many more birds. 

In the meantime, Momotaro had brought his ship to land. 
As they had approached, he saw that the shore was like a 
precipice, and that the large castle was surrounded by high 
walls and large iron gates and was strongly fortified. 

Momotaro landed, and with the hope of finding some 
way of entrance, walked up the path towards the top, followed 
by the monkey and the dog. They soon came upon cwo 
beautiful damsels washing clothes in a stream. Momotaro 
saw that the clothes were blood-stained, and that as the two 

Momotaro, or the Story of the Son of a Peach. 259 

maidens washed, the tears were falling fast down their cheeks. 
He stopped and spoke to them : 

11 Who are you, and why do you weep ? ' 

" We are captives of the Demon King. We were carried 
away from our homes to this island, and though we are 
the daughters of Daimios (Lords), we are obliged to be his 
servants, and one day he will kill us' -and the maidens held 
up the blood-stained clothes " and eat us, and there is no 
one to help us ! ' 

And their tears burst out afresh at this horrible thought. 

" I will rescue you," said Momotaro. " Do not weep any 
more, only show me how I may get into the castle." 

Then the two ladies led the way and showed Momotaro a 
little back door in the lowest part of the castle wall so small 
that Momotaro could hardly crawl in. 

The pheasant, who was all this time fighting hard, saw 
Momotaro and his little band rush in at the back. 

Momotaro's onslaught was so furious that the devils could 
not stand against him. At first their foe had been a single 
bird, the pheasant, but now that Momotaro and the dog and 
the monkey had arrived they were bewildered, for the four 
enemies fought like a hundred, so strong were they. Some of 
the devils fell off the parapet of the castle and were dashed to 
pieces on the rocks beneath ; others fell into the sea and were 
drowned ; many were beaten to death by the three animals. 

The chief of the devils at last was the only one left. He 
made up his mind to surrender, for he knew that his enemy was 
stronger than mortal man. 

He came up humbly to Momotaro and threw down his iron 

s 2 


Japanese Fairy Book. 

bar, and kneelinir clown at the victor's feet he broke off the horns 


on his head in token of submission, for they were the sign of his 
strength and power. 

Momotaro returned triumphantly Home, taking with him the Devil Chief as 

his Captive. 

"I am afraid of you," he said meekly. "I cannot stand 
against you. I will give you all the treasure hidden in this 
castle if you will spare my life ! ' 

Momotaro laughed. 

Momotaro, or the Story of the Son of a Peach. 261 

" It is not like you, big devil, to beg for mercy, is it ? I 
cannot spare your wicked life, however much you beg, for you 
have killed and tortured many people and robbed our country 
for many years." 

Then Momotaro tied the devil chief up and gave him into 
the monkey's charge. Having done this, he went into all the 
rooms of the castle and set the prisoners free and gathered 
together all the treasure he found. 

The dog and the pheasant carried home the plunder, and 
thus Momotaro returned triumphantly to his home, taking with 
him the devil chief as a captive. 

The two poor damsels, daughters of Daimios, and others 
whom the wicked demon had carried off to be his slaves, 
were taken safely to their own homes and delivered to their 

The whole country made a hero of Momotaro on his 
triumphant return, and rejoiced that the country was now freed 
from the robber devils who had been a terror of the land for a 
long time. 

The old couple's joy was greater than ever, and the 
treasure Momotaro had brought home with him enabled them 
to live in peace and plenty to the end of their days. 

( 262 ) 


LONG, long ago in Kyoto, the people of the city were 
terrified by accounts of a dreadful ogre, who, it was said, 
haunted the Gate of Rashomon at twilight and seized whoever 
passed by. The missing victims were never seen again, so it 
was whispered that the ogre was a horrible cannibal, who not 
only killed the unhappy victims but ate them also. Now 
everybody in the town and neighbourhood was in great fear, 
and no one durst venture out after sunset near the Gate of 

Now at this time there lived in Kyoto a general named 
Raiko, who had made himself famous for his brave deeds. 
Some time before this he made the country ring with his 
name, for he had attacked Oeyama, where a band of ogres 
lived with their chief, who instead of wine drank the blood 
of human beings. He had routed them all and cut off the 
head of the chief monster. 

This brave warrior was always followed by a band of 
faithful knights. In this band there were five knights of 
great valour. One evening as the five knights sat at a feast 
quaffing sake in their rice bowls and eating all kinds of fish, 
raw, and stewed, and broiled, and toasting each other's healths 
and exploits, the first knight, Hojo, said to the others : 

Have you all heard the rumour that every evening after 

i i 

The Ogre of Rashomon. 263 

sunset there comes an ogre to the Gate of Rashomon, and that 
he seizes all who pass by ? ' 

The second knight, Watanabe, answered him, saying : 

" Do not talk such nonsense ! All the ogres were killed by 
our chief Raiko at Oeyama ! It cannot be true, because even 
if any ogres did escape from that great killing they would not 
dare to show themselves in this city, for they know that our 
brave master would at once attack them if he knew that any of 
them were still alive ! ' 

" Then do you disbelieve what I say, and think that I am 
telling you a falsehood ? ' 

" No, I do not think that you are telling a lie," said 
Watanabe ; " but you have heard some old woman's story 
which is not worth believing." 

" Then the best plan is to prove what I say, by going 
there yourself and finding out yourself whether it is true or 
not," said Hqjo. 

Watanabe, the second knight, could not bear the thought 
that his companion should believe he was afraid, so he 
answered quickly : 

" Of course, I will go at once and find out for myself! " 

So Watanabe at once got ready to go he buckled on his 
long sword and put on a coat of armour, and tied on his large 
helmet. When he was ready to start he said to the others : 

" Give me something so that I can prove I have been 

Then one "of the men got a roll of writing paper and his 
box of Indian ink and brushes, and the four comrades wrote 
their names on a piece of paper. 


Japanese Fairy Book. 

" I will take this," said Watanabe, " and put it on the Gate 
of Rashomon, so to-morrow morning will you all go and look 


Watanabe finds the Arm of the Ogre. 

at it ? I may be able to catch an ogre or two by then ! " and 
he mounted his horse and rode off gallantly. 

It was a very dark night, and there was neither moon nor 

The Core of Rashomon. 265 

star to light Watanabe on his way. To make the darkness 
worse a storm came on, the rain fell heavily and the wind 
howled like wolves in the mountains. Any ordinary man 
would have trembled at the thought of going out of doors, 
but Watanabe was a brave warrior and dauntless, and his 
honour and word were at stake, so he sped on into the night, 
while his companions listened to the sound of his horse's hoofs 
dying away in the distance, then shut the sliding shutters close 
and gathered round the charcoal fire and wondered what would 
happen and whether their comrade would encounter one of 
those horrible oni. 

At last Watanabe reached the Gate of Rashomon, but peer as 
he might through the darkness he could see no sign of an ogre. 

" It is just as I thought," said Watanabe to himself; "there 
are certainly no ogres here; it is only an old woman's story. I 
will stick this paper on the gate so that the others can see 
I have been here when they come to-morrow, and then I will 
take my way home and laugh at them all." 

He fastened the piece of paper, signed by all his four 
companions, on the gate, and then turned his horse's head 
towards home. 

As he did so he became aware that someone was behind 
him, and at the same time a voice called out to him to wait. 
Then his helmet was seized from the back. 

" Who are you ? " said Watanabe fearlessly. He then put 
out his hand and groped around to find out who or what it was 
that held him by the helmet. As he did so he touched some- 
thing that felt like an arm it was covered with hair and as 
big round as the trur.k of a tree ! 

266 Japanese Fairy Book. 

Watanabe knew at once that this was the arm of an o <r re, 

O ' 

so he drew his sword and cut at it fiercely. 

There was a loud yell of pain, and then the ogre dashed in 
front of the warrior. 

Watanabe's eyes grew large with wonder, for he saw that 
the ogre was taller than the great gate, his eyes were flashing 
like mirrors in the sunlight, and his huge mouth was wide 
open, and as the monster breathed, flames of fire shot out 
of his mouth. 

The ogre thought to terrify his foe, but Watanabe never 
flinched. He attacked the ogre with all his strength, and thus 
they fought face to face for a long time. At last the ogre, 
finding that he could neither frighten nor beat Watanabe and 
that he might himself be beaten, took to flight. But Watanabe, 
determined not to let the monster escape, put spurs to his 
horse and gave chase. 

But though the knight rode very fast the ogre ran faster, 
and to his disappointment he found himself unable to overtake 
the monster, who was gradually lost to sight. 

Watanabe returned to the gate where the fierce fight had 
taken place, and got down from his horse. As he did so he 
stumbled upon something lying on the ground. 

Stooping to pick it up he found that it was one of the 
ogre's huge arms which he must have slashed off in the fight. 
His joy was great at having secured such a prize, for this was 
the best of all proofs of his adventure with the ogre. So he 
took it up carefully and carried it home as a trophy of his 

When he got back, he showed the arm to his comrades 

The Ogre oi Rashomon. 267 

who one and all called him the hero of their band and gave 
him a great feast. His wonderful deed was soon noised abroad 
in Kyoto, and people from far and near came to see the 

ogre s arm. 

Watanabe now began to grow uneasy as to how he should 
keep the arm in safety, for he knew that the ogre to whom it 
belonged was still alive. He felt sure that one day or other, 
as soon as the ogre got over his scare, he would come to try 
to get his arm back again. Watanabe therefore had a box 
made of the strongest wood and banded with iron. In this 
he placed the arm, and then he sealed down the heavy lid, 
refusing to open it for anyone. He kept the box in his own room 
and took charge of it himself, never allowing it out of his sight. 

Now one night he heard someone knocking at the porch, 
asking for admittance. 

When the servant went to the door to see who it was, there 
was only an old woman, very respectable in appearance. On 
being asked who she was and what was her business, the 
old woman replied with a smile that she had been nurse to 
the master of the house when he was a little baby. If the 
lord of the house were at home she begged to be allowed to 
see him. 

The servant left the old woman at the door and went to tell 
his master that his old nurse had come to see him. Watanabe 
thought it strange that she should come at that time of night, 
but at the thought of his old nurse, who had been like a foster- 
mother to him and whom he had not seen for a long time, a 
very tender feeling sprang up for her in his heart. He ordered 
the servant to show her in. 


Japanese Fairy Book. 

The old woman was ushered into the room, and after the 
customary bows and greetings were over, she said : 

" Master, the report of your brave fight with the ogre at 

Someone was knocking at the Porch, asking for Admittance! 

the Gate of Rashomon is so widely known that even your poor 
old nurse has heard of it. Is it really true, what everyone 
says, that you cut off one of the ogre's arms ? If you did, your 
deed is highly to be praised ! " 

The Ogre of Rashomon. 269 

"I was very disappointed," said Watanabe, "that I was 
not able take the monster captive, which was what I wished to 
do, instead of only cutting off an arm ! ' 

" I am very proud to think," answered the old woman, 
" that my master was so brave as to dare to cut off an ogre's 
arm. There is nothing that can be compared to your courage. 
Before I die it is the great wish of my life to see this arm," 
she added pleadingly. 

" No," said Watanabe, " I am sorry, but I cannot grant 
your request." 

" But why ? " asked the old woman. 

" Because," replied Watanabe, " ogres are very revengeful 
creatures, and if I open the box there is no telling but that the 
ogre may suddenly appear and carry off his arm. I have had 
a box made on purpose with a very strong lid, and in this box 
I keep the ogre's arm secure; and I never show it to anyone, 
whatever happens." 

" Your precaution is very reasonable," said the old woman. 
" But I am your old nurse, so surely you will not refuse to show 
me the arm. I have only just heard of your brave act, and not 
being able to wait till the morning I came at once to ask you 
to show it to me." 

Watanabe was very troubled at the old woman's pleading, 
but he still persisted in refusing. Then the old woman 
said : 

" Do you suspect me of being a spy sent by the 


" No, of course I do not suspect you of being the ogre's 
spy, for you are my old nurse," answered Watanabe. 


Japanese Fairy Book. 

" Then you cannot surely refuse to show me the arm 
any longer," entreated the old woman; "for it is the great 


^^*j i k& 

In this Way the Ogre escaped with his Arm. 

wish of my heart to see for once in my life the arm of 

an ogre ! ' 

Watanabe could not hold out in his refusal any longer, so 
he gave in at last, saying : 

The Ogre of Rashomon. 271 

"Then I will show you the ogre's arm, since you so 
earnestly wish to see it. Come, follow me ! ' and he led the 
way to his own room, the old woman following. 

When they were both in the room Watanabe shut the door 
carefully, and then going towards a big box which stood in a 
corner of the room, he took off the heavy lid. He then called 
to the old woman to come near and look in, for he never took 
the arm out of the box. 

"What is it like? Let me have a good look at it," said 
the old nurse, with a joyful face. 

She came nearer and nearer, as if she were afraid, till she 
stood right against the box. Suddenly she plunged her hand 
into the box and seized the arm, crying with a fearful voice 
which made the room shake : 

" Oh, joy ! I have got my arm back again ! ' 

And from an old woman she was suddenly transformed 
into the towering figure of the frightful ogre ! 

Watanabe sprang back and was unable to move for a 
moment, so great was his astonishment ; but recognising 
the ogre who had attacked him at the Gate of Rashomon, 
he determined with his usual courage to put an end to him this 
time. He seized his sword, drew it out of its sheath in a flash, 
and tried to cut the ogre down. 

So quick was Watanabe that the creature had a narrow 
escape. But the ogre sprang up to the ceiling, and bursting 
through the roof, disappeared in the mist and clouds. 

In this way the ogre escaped with his arm. The knight 
gnashed his teeth with disappointment, but that was all he 
could do. He waited in patience for another opportunity to 

272 Japanese Fairy Book. 

despatch the ogre. But the latter was afraid of Watanabe's 
great strength and daring, and never troubled Kyoto again. 
So once more the people of the city were able to go out without 
fear even at night time, and the brave deeds of Watanabe have 
never been forgotten ! 



MANY, many years ago there lived a good old man who had 
a wen like a tennis-ball growing out of his right cheek. This 
lump was a great disfigurement to the old man, and so annoyed 
him that for many years he spent all his time and money in 
trying to get rid of it. He tried everything he could think of. 
He consulted many doctors far and near, and took all kinds of 
medicines both internally and externally. But it was all of no 
use. The lump only grew bigger and bigger till it was nearly 
as big as his face, and in despair he gave up all hopes of ever 
losing it, and resigned himself to the thought of having to carry 
the lump on his face all his life. 

One day the firewood gave out in his kitchen, so, as his 
wife wanted some at once, the old man took his axe and set out 
for the woods up among the hills not very far from his home. 
It was a fine day in the early autumn, and the old man enjoyed 
the fresh air and was in no hurry to get home. So the 
whole afternoon passed quickly while he was chopping wood, 
and he had collected a goodly pile to take back to his wife. 
When the day began to draw to its close, he turned his face 

The old man had not gone far on his way down the moun- 
tain pass when the sky clouded and rain began to fall 
heavily. He looked about for some shelter, but there was not 
F.B. T 

274 Japanese Fairy Book. 

even a charcoal-burner's hut near. At last he espied a large 
hole in the hollow trunk of a tree. The hole was near the 
ground, so he crept in easily, and sat down in hopes that he 
had only been overtaken by a mountain shower, and that the 
weather would soon clear. 

But much to the old man's disappointment, instead of 
clearing the rain fell more and more heavily, and finally a 
heavy thunderstorm broke over the mountain. The thunder 
roared so terrifically, and the heavens seemed to be so ablaze 
with lightning, that the old man could hardly believe himself 
to be alive. He thought that he must die of fright. At last, 
however, the sky cleared, and the whole country was aglow in 
the rays of the setting sun. The old man's spirits revived 
when he looked out at the beautiful twilight, and he was about 
to step out from his strange hiding-place in the hollow tree 
when the sound of what seemed like the approaching steps of 
several people caught his ear. He at once thought that his 
friends had come to look for him, and he was delighted at the 
idea of having some jolly companions with whom to walk home. 
But on looking out from the tree, what was his amazement to 
see, not his friends, but hundreds of demons coming towards 
the spot. The more he looked, the greater was his astonish- 
ment. Some of these demons were as large as giants, others 
had great big eyes out of all proportion to the rest of their 
bodies, others again had absurdly long noses, and some had such 
big mouths that they seemed to open from ear to ear. All had 
horns growing on their foreheads. The old man was so 
surprised at what he saw that he lost his balance and fell out 
of the hollow tree. Fortunately for him the demons did not 

How an Old Man Lost his Wen. 275 

see him, as the tree was in the background. So he picked 
himself up and crept back into the tree. 

While he was sitting there and wondering impatiently when 
he would be able to get home, he heard the sounds of gay 
music, and then some of the demons began to sing. 

"What are these creatures doing?" said the old man to 
himself. " I will look out, it sounds very amusing." 

On peeping out, the old man saw that the demon chief himself 
was actually sitting with his back against the tree in which he had 
taken refuge, and all the other demons were sitting round, some 
drinking and some dancing. Food and wine was spread before 
them on the ground, and the demons were evidently having 
a great entertainment and enjoying themselves immensely. 

It made the old man laugh to see their strange antics. 

" How amusing this is ! " laughed the old man to himself. 
" I am now quite old, but I have never seen anything so strange 
in all my life." 

He was so interested and excited in watching all that the 
demons were doing, that he forgot himself and stepped out of 
the tree and stood looking on. 

The demon chief was just taking a big cup of sake and 
watching one of the demons dancing. In a little while he said 
with a bored air : 

" Your dance is rather monotonous. I am tired of watching 


it. Isn't there anyone amongst you all who can dance better 
than this fellow ? " 

Now the old man had been fond of dancing all his life, 
and was quite an expert in the art, and he knew that he could 
do much better than the demon. 


276 Japanese Fairy Book. 

" Shall I go and dance before these demons and let them 
see what a human being can do ? It may be dangerous, for if 
I don't please them they may kill me ! " said the old fellow to 

His fears, however, were soon overcome by his love of 
dancing. In a few minutes he could restrain himself no 
longer, and came out before the whole party of demons and 
began to dance at once. The old man, realising that his 
life probably depended on whether he pleased these strange 
creatures or not, exerted his skill and wit to the utmost. 

The demons were at first very surprised to see a man so 
fearlessly taking part in their entertainment, and then their 
surprise soon gave place to admiration. 

" How strange ! ' exclaimed the horned chief. " I never 
saw such a skilful dancer before ! He dances admirably ! " 

When the old man had finished his dance, the big demon said: 

" Thank you very much for your amusing dance. Now 
give us the pleasure of drinking a cup of wine with us," and 
with these words he handed him his largest wine-cup. 

The old man thanked him very humbly : 

" I did not expect such kindness from your lordship. I fear 
I have only disturbed your pleasant party by my unskilful 

"No, no," answered the big demon. "You must come 
often and dance for us. Your skill has given us much pleasure." 

The old man thanked him again and promised to do so. 

" Then will you come again to-morrow, old man ? '* asked 
the demon. 

" Certainly I will ! " answered the old man. 

How an Old Man Lost his Wen. 


" Then you must leave some pledge of your word with us," 
said the demon. 

11 Whatever you like," said the old man. 

" Now what is the best thing he can leave with us as a 
pledge ? " as^ed the demon, looking round. 

The Demon took the great Lump from the Old Man's Cheek. 

Then said one of the demon's attendants kneeling behind 
the chief: 

" The token he leaves with us must be the most important 
thing to him in his possession. I see the old man has a 
wen on his right cheek. Now mortal men consider such a 
wen very fortunate. Let my lord take the lump from the 
old man's right cheek, and he will surely come to-morrow, if 
only to get that back." 

278 Japanese Fairy Book. 

" You nre very clever," said the demon chief, giving his 
horns an approving nod. Then he stretched out a hairy arm 
and claw-like hand, and took the great lump from the old 
man's right cheek. Strange to say, it came off as easily as a 
ripe plum from the tree at the demon's touch, and then the 
merry troop of demons suddenly vanished. 

The old man was lost in bewilderment by all that had 
happened. He hardly knew for some time where he was. 
"\Yhen he came to understand what had happened to him, he 
was delighted to find that the lump on his face, which had for 
so many years disfigured him, had really been taken away 
without any pain to himself. He put up his hand to feel if any 
scar remained, but found that his right cheek was as smooth 
as his left. 

The sun had long set, and the young moon had risen like a 
silver crescent in the sky. The old man suddenly realised how 
late it was and began to hurry home. He patted his right 
cheek all the time, as if to make sure of his good fortune in 
having lost the wen. He was so happy that he found it 
impossible to walk quietly he ran and danced the whole way 

He found his wife very anxious, wondering what had 
happened to make him so late. He soon told her all that had 
passed since he left home that afternoon. She was quite as 
happy as her husband when he showed her that the ugly 
lump had disappeared from his face, for in her youth she 
had prided herself on his good looks, and it had been a daily 
grief to her to see the horrid growth. 

Now next door to this good old couple there lived a wicked 

How an Old Man Lost his Wen. 


and disagreeable old man. He, too, had for many years 
been troubled with the growth of a wen on his left cheek, 
and he, too, had tried all manner of things to get rid of 
it, but in vain. 

The Old Man told his Neighbour all that had happened. 

He heard at once, through the servant, of his neighbour's 
good luck in losing the lump on his face, so he called that very 
evening and asked his friend to tell him everything that 
concerned the loss of it. The good old man told his disagree- 
able neighbour all that had happened to him. He described 
the place where he would find the hollow tree in which to hide, 

280 Japanese Fairy Book. 

and advised him to be on the spot in the late afternoon towards 
the time of sunset. 

The old neighbour started out the very next afternoon, and 
after hunting about for some time, came to the hollow tree 
just as his friend had described. Here he hid himself and 
waited for the twilight. 

Just as he had been told, the band of demons came at that 
hour and held a feast with dance and song. W T hen this had 
gone on for some time the chief of the demons looked around 
and said : 

" It is now time for the old man to come as he promised us. 
Why doesn't he come ? " 

When the second old man heard these words he ran out of 
his hiding-place in the tree and, kneeling down before the oni, 
said : 

" I have been waiting for a long time for you to speak ! " 

" Ah, you are the old man of yesterday," said the demon 
chief. " Thank you for coming, you must dance for us soon." 

The old man now stood up and opened his fan and began 
to dance. But he had never learned to dance, and knew 
nothing about the necessary gestures and different positions. 
He thought that anything would please the demons, so he just 
hopped about, waving his arms and stamping his feet, 
imitating as well as he could any dancing he had ever seen. 

The oni were very dissatisfied at this exhibition, and said 
amongst themselves : 

" How badly he dances to-day ! " 

Then to the old man the demon chief said : 

" Your performance to-day is quite different from the dance 

How an Old Man Lost his Wen. 


of yesterday. We don't wish to see any more of such dancing. 
We will give you back the pledge you left with us. You must 
go away at once." 

With these words he took out from a fold of his dress the 

There was now a great Wen on the Right Side of his Face as on the Left. 

iump which he had taken from the face of the old man who 
had danced so well the day before, and threw it at the right 
cheek of the old man who stood before him. The lump 
immediately attached itself to his cheek as firmly as if it had 
grown there always, and all attempts to pull it off were useless. 
The wicked old man, instead of losing the lump on his left 

282 Japanese Fairy Book. 

cheek as he had hoped, found to his dismay that he had but 
added another to his right cheek in his attempt to get rid 
of the first. 

He put up first one hand and then the other to each side 
of his face to make sure if he were not dreaming a horrible 
nightmare. No, sure enough there was now a great wen on 
the right side of his face as on the left. The demons had all 
disappeared, and there was nothing for him to do but to return 
home. He was a pitiful sight, for his face, with the two large 
lumps, one on each side, looked just like a Japanese gourd. 




LONG, long ago there lived a great Chinese Empress who 
succeeded her brother the Emperor Fuki. It was the age ot 
giants, and the Empress Jokwa, for that was her name, was 
twenty-five feet high, nearly as tall as her brother. She was 
a wonderful woman, and an able ruler. There is an interesting 
story of how she mended a part of the broken heavens and one 
of the terrestrial pillars which upheld the sky, both of which 
were damaged during a rebellion raised by one of King Fuki's 

The rebel's name was Kokai. He was twenty-six feet high. 
His body was entirely covered with hair, and his face was as 
black as iron. He was a wizard and a very terrible character 
indeed. When the Emperor Fuki died, Kokai was bitten with 
the ambition to be Emperor of China, but his plan failed, and 
Jokwa, the dead Emperor's sister, mounted the throne. Kokai 
was so angry at being thwarted in his desire that he raised a 
revolt. His first act was to employ the Water Devil, who 
caused a great flood to rush over the country. This swamped 
the poor people out of their homes, and when the Empress 
Jokwa saw the plight of her subjects, and knew it was Kokai's 
fault, she declared war against him. 


Japanese Fairy Book. 

Now Jokwa, the Empress, had two young warriors called 
Hako and Eiko, and the former she made General of the front 
forces. Hako was delighted that the Empress's choice should 

The Empress Jokwa. 

fall on him, and he prepared himself for battle. He took up 
the longest lance he could find and mounted a red horse, and 
was just about to set out when he heard someone galloping 

hard behind him and shouting: 

Stones of Five Colours and the Empress Jokwa. 285 

" Hako ! Stop ! The General of the front forces must 
be I!" 

He looked back and saw Eiko his comrade, riding on a 
white horse, in the act of unsheathing a large sword to draw 


Hako looked back and saw Eiko unsheathing a large Sword. 

upon him. Hako's anger was kindled, and as he turned to 
face his rival he cried : 

" Insolent wretch ! I have been appointed by the Empress 
to lead the front forces to battle. Do you dare to stop 

"Yes," answered Eiko. " I ought to lead the army. It is 
you who should follow me." 

286 Japanese Fairy Book. 

At this bold reply Hako's anger burst from a spark into a. 

" Dare you answer me thus? Take that," and he lunged 
at him with his lance. 

But Eiko moved quickly aside, and at the same time, 
raising his sword, he wounded the head of the General's horse. 
Obliged to dismount, Hako was about to rush at his antagonist, 
when Eiko, as quick as lightning, tore from his breast the 
badge of commandership and galloped away. The action was 
so quick that Hako stood dazed, not knowing what to do. 

The Empress had been a spectator of the scene, and she 
could not but admire the quickness of the ambitious Eiko, and 
in order to pacify the rivals she determined to appoint them 
both to the Generalship of the front army. 

So Hako was made commander of the left wing of the 
front army, and Eiko of the right. One hundred thousand 
soldiers followed them and marched to put down the rebel Kokai. 

Within a short time the two Generals reached the castle 
where Kokai had fortified himself. When aware of their 
approach, the wizard said : 

" I will blow these two poor children away with one 
breath." (He little thought how hard he would find the fight.) 

With these words Kokai seized an iron rod and mounted a 
black horse, and rushed forth like an angry tiger to meet his 
two foes. 

As the two young warriors saw him tearing down upon them, 

they said to each other : " We must not let him escape alive," 

and they attacked him from the right and from the left with 

\sword and with lance. But the all-powerful Kokai was not to 

Stones of Five Colours and the Empress Jokwa. 287 

be easily beaten he whirled his iron rod round like a great 
water-wheel, and for a long time they fought thus, neither side 
gaining nor losing. At last, to avoid the wizard's iron rod,, 
Hako turned his horse too quickly; the animal's hoofs struck 
against a large stone, and in a fright the horse reared as 
straight on end as a screen, throwing his master to the 

Thereupon Kokai drew his three-edged sword and was 
about to kill the prostrate Hako, but before the wizard could 
work his wicked will the brave Eiko had wheeled his horse in 
front of Kokai and dared him to try his strength with him, and 
not to kill a fallen man. But Kokai was tired, and he did not 
feel inclined to face this fresh and dauntless young soldier, so 
suddenly wheeling his horse round, he fled from the fray. 

Hako, who had been only slightly stunned, had by this 
time got upon his feet, and he and his comrade rushed after 
the retreating enemy, the one on foot and the other on 

Kokai, seeing that he was pursued, turned upon his nearest 
assailant, who was, of course, the mounted Eiko, and drawing 
forth an arrow from the quiver at his back, fitted it to his bow 
and drew upon Eiko. 

As quick as lightning the wary Eiko avoided the shaft, 
which only touched his helmet strings, and glancing off, fell 
harmless against Hako's coat of armour. 

The wizard saw that both his enemies remained unscathed. 
He also knew that there was no time to pull a second arrow 
before they would be upon him, so to save himself he resorted 
to magic. He stretched forth his wand, and immediately a 

288 Japanese Fairy Book. 

great flood arose, and Jokwa's army and her brave young 
Generals were swept away like a falling of autumn leaves on a 

Hako and Eiko found themselves struggling neck deep in 
water, and looking round they saw the ferocious Kokai making 
towards them through the water with his iron rod on high. 
They thought every moment that they would be cut down, but 
they bravely struck out to swim as far as they could from 
Kokai's reach. All of a sudden they found themselves in front 
of what seemed to be an island rising straight out of the water. 
They looked up, and there stood an old man with hair as white 
as snow, smiling at them. They cried to him to help them. 
The old man nodded his head and came down to the edge of 
the water. As soon as his feet touched the flood it divided, 
and a good road appeared, to the amazement of the drowning 
men, who now found themselves safe. 

Kokai had by this time reached the island which had risen 
as it by a miracle out of the water, and seeing his enemies thus 
saved he was furious. He rushed through the water upon the 
old man, and it seemed as if he would surely be killed. But 
the old man appeared not in the least dismayed, and calmly 
awaited the wizard's onslaught. 

As Kokai drew near, the old man laughed aloud merrily, and 
turning into a large and beautiful white crane, flapped his wings 
and flew upwards into the heavens. 

When Hako and Eiko saw this, they knew that their 
deliverer was no mere human being was perhaps a god in dis- 
guise and they hoped later on to find out who the venerable 
old man was. 

Stones of Five Colours and the Empress Jokwa. 289 

In the meantime they had retreated, and it being now the 
close of day, for the sun was setting, both Kokai and the young 
warriors gave up the idea of righting more that day. 

That nisfht Hako and Eiko decided that it was useless to 


fight against the wizard Kokai, for he had supernatural powers, 
while they were only human. So they presented themselves 
before the Empress Jokwa. After a long consultation, the 
Empress decided to ask the Fire King, Shikuyu, to help her 
against the rebel wizard and to lead her army against him. 

Now Shikuyu, the Fire King, lived at the South Pole. It 
was the only safe place for him to be in, for he burnt up every- 
thing around him anywhere else, but it was impossible to burn 
up ice and snow. To look at he was a giant, and stood thirty 
feet high. His face was just like marble, and his hair and 
beard long and as white as snow. His strength was stupendous, 
and he was master of all fire just as Kokai was of water. 

" Surely," thought the Empress, " Shikuyu can conquer 
Kokai." So she sent Eiko to the South Pole to beg Shikuyu 
to take the war against Kokai into his own hands and conquer 
him once for all. 

The Fire King, on hearing the Empress's request, smiled 
and said : 

" That is an easy matter, to be sure ! It was none other 
than I who came to your rescue when you and your companion 
were drowning in the flood raised by Kokai ! " 

Eiko was surprised at learning this. He thanked the Fire 
King for coming to the rescue in their dire need, and then 
besought him to return with him and lead the war and defeat 
the wicked Kokai. 

F.B. u 


Japanese Fairy Book. 

Sliikuyu did as he was asked, and returned with Eiko to 
the Empress. She welcomed the Fire King cordially, and at 
once told him why she had sent for him to ask him to he the 
Generalissimo of her army. His reply was very reassuring: 

Eiko visits the Fire King. 

" Do not have any anxiety. I will certainly kill Kokai." 
Shikuyu then placed himself at the head of thirty thousand 
soldiers, and with Hako and Eiko showing him the way, 
marched to the enemy's castle. The Fire King knew the 
secret of Kokai's power, and he now told all the soldiers to 
gather a certain kind of shrub. This they burned in large 

Stones of Five Colours and the Empress Jokwa. 291 

quantities, and each soldier was then ordered to fill a bag full 
of the ashes thus obtained. 

Kokai, on the other hand, in his own conceit, thought that 
Shikuyu was of inferior power to himself, and he murmured 
angrily : 

" Even though you are the Fire King, I can soon extinguish 

Then he repeated an incantation, and the water-floods rose 
and welled as high as mountains. Shikuyu, not in the least 
frightened, ordered his soldiers to scatter the ashes which he 


had caused them to make. Every man did as he was bid, and 
such was the power of the plant that they had burned, that as 
soon as the ashes mingled with the water a stiff mud was 
formed, and they were all safe from drowning. 

Now Kokai the wizard was dismayed when he saw that the 
Fire King was superior in wisdom to himself, and his anger 
was so great that he rushed headlong towards the enemy. 

Eiko rode to meet him, and the two fought together for 
some time. They were well matched in a hand-to-hand 
combat. Hako, who was carefully watching the fray, saw that 
Eiko began to tire, and fearing that his companion would be 
killed, he took his place. 

But Kokai had tired as well, and feeling himself unable to 
hold out against Hako, he said artfully : 

" You are too magnanimous, thus to fight for your friend and 
run the risk of being killed. I will not hurt such a good man." 

And he pretended to retreat, turning away the head of his 
horse. His intention was to throw Hako off his guard and 
then to wheel round and take *him by surprise. 

292 Japanese Fairy Book. 

But Shikuyu understood the wily wizard, and he spoke at 
once : 

" You are a coward ! You cannot deceive me ! " 

Saying this, the Fire King made a sign to the unwary 
Hako to attack him. Kokai now turned upon Shikuyu 
furiously, but he was tired and unable to fight well, and he 
soon received a wound in his shoulder. He now broke from 
the fray and tried to escape in earnest. 

While the fight between their leaders had been going on 
the two armies had stood waiting for the issue. Shikuyu now 
turned and bade Jokwa's soldiers charge the enemy's forces. 
This they did, and routed them with great slaughter, and the 
wizard barely escaped with his life. 

It was in vain that Kokai called upon the Water Devil to 
help him, for Shikuyu knew the counter-charm. The wizard 
found that the battle was against him. Mad with pain, for his 
wound began to trouble him, and frenzied with disappointment 
and fear, he dashed his head against the rocks of Mount Shu, 
and died on the spot. 

There was an end of the wicked Kokai, but not of trouble 
in the Empress Jokwa's Kingdom, as you shall see. The 
force with which the wizard fell against the rocks was so great 
that the mountain burst, and fire rushed out from the earth, 
and one of the pillars upholding the Heavens was broken, so 
that one corner of the sky dropped till it touched the earth. 

Shikuyu, the Fire King, took up the body of the wizard and 
carried it to the Empress Jokwa, who rejoiced greatly that 
her enemy was vanquished, and her generals victorious. She 
showered all manner of gifts and honours upon Shikuyu. 

Stones of Five Colours and the Empress Jokwa. 293 

But all this time fire was bursting from the mountain 
broken by the fall of Kokai. Whole villages were destroyed, 
rice-fields burnt up, river beds filled with the burning lava, and 
the homeless people were in great distress. - So the Empress 
left the capital as soon as she had rewarded the victor 
Shikuyu, and journeyed with all speed to the scene of disaster. 
She found that both Heaven and earth had sustained damage, 
and the place was so dark that she had to light her lamp to 
find out the extent of the havoc that had been wrought. 

Having ascertained this, she set to work at repairs. To this 
end she ordered her subjects to collect stones of five colours 
blue, yellow, red, white and black. When she had obtained 
these, she boiled them with a kind of porcelain in a large 
cauldron, and the mixture became a beautiful paste, and with this 
she knew that she could mend the sky. Now all was ready. 

Summoning the clouds that were sailing ever so high above 
her head, she mounted them, and rode heavenwards, carrying 
in her hands the vase containing the paste made from the stones 
of five colours. She soon reached the corner of the sky that 
was broken, and applied the paste and mended it. Having 
done this, she turned her attention to the broken pillar, and 
with the legs of a very large tortoise she mended it. When 
this was finished she mounted the clouds and descended to the 
earth, hoping to find that all was now right, but to her dismay 
she found that it was still quite dark. Neither the sun shone 
by day nor the moon by night. 

Greatly perplexed, she at last called a meeting of all the 
wise men of the Kingdom, and asked their advice as to what 
she should do in this dilemma. 


Japanese Fairy Book. 

Two of the wisest said : 

" The roads of Heaven have been damaged by the late 
accident, and the Sun and Moon have been obliged to stay at 
home. Neither the Sun could make his daily journey nor the 
Moon her nightly one because of the bad roads. The Sun and 


, \ ^ 



The Ambassadors set out in the Magic Chariots. 

Moon do not yet know that your Majesty has mended all that 
was damaged, so we will go and inform them that since you 
have repaired them the roads are safe." 

The Empress approved of what the wise men suggested, 
and ordered them to set out on their mission. But this was 
not easy, for the Palace of the Sun and Moon was many, many 

Stones of Five Colours and the Empress Jokwa. 295 

hundreds of thousands of miles distant into the East. If they 
travelled on foot they might never reach the place, they would 
die of old age on the road. But Jokwa had recourse to magic. 
She gave her two ambassadors wonderful chariots which could 
\vhirl through the air by magic power a thousand miles per 
minute. They set out in good spirits, riding above the clouds, 
and after many days they reached the country where the Sun 
and the Moon were living happily together. 

The two ambassadors were granted an interview with their 
Majesties of Light and asked them why they had for so many 
days secluded themselves from the Universe ? Did they not 
know that by doing so they plunged the world and all its 
people into uttermost darkness both day and night ? 

Replied the Sun and the Moon : 

" Surely you know that Mount Shu has suddenly burst 
forth with fire, and the roads of Heaven have been greatly 
damaged ! I, the Sun, found it impossible to make my daily 
journey along such rough roads and certainly the Moon could 
not issue forth at night ! so we both retired into private life for 
a time." 

Then the two wise men bowed themselves to the ground 
and said : 

11 Our Empress Jokwa has already repaired the roads with 
the wonderful stones of five colours, so we beg to assure your 
Majesties that the roads are just as they were before the 
eruption took place." 

But the Sun and the Moon still hesitated, saying that they 
had heard that one of the pillars of Heaven had been broken as 
well, and they feared that, even if the roads had been remade, 

296 Japanese Fairy Book. 

it would still be dangerous for them to sally forth on their 
usual journeys. 

" You need have no anxiety about the broken pillar," said 
the two ambassadors. " Our Empress restored it with the 
lees of a great tortoise, and it is as firm as ever it was." 

O O 

Then the Sun and Moon appeared satisfied, and they both 
set out to try the roads. They found that what the Empress's 
deputies had told them was correct. 

After the examination of the heavenly roads, the Sun and 
Moon again gave light to the earth. All the people rejoiced 
greatly, and peace and prosperity were secured in China for a 
long time under the reign of the wise Empress Jokwa. 



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